Warm Barley Salad

Continuing with our menu ideas for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner at home, we find ourselves delighting in a hearty salad that's warm, packed with veggies and barley and perfectly sautéed mushrooms and shallots. With such a beautiful blend of flavors, it won't be hard to just decide this salad is going to be making regular appearances at your table until spring!

I love this salad because it bridges the gap between traditional warm sides and salads consisting of entirely raw ingredients. In fact, you might find yourself having a difficult time deciding whether you should call it a side dish or a salad. I have a solution for you: call it delicious! Packed with warm ingredients like barley and sautéed mushrooms, shallots, and garlic combined with raw ingredients like fresh greens and lemon juice, it has something for everyone.

While it is playing second fiddle to our elegant salmon and asparagus dish from earlier this time around, this dish is also part of a stunning lunch when paired with your favorite sandwich or a hot cup of soup or chowder. Let's face it - Valentine's Day is one day and winter is long. Let's pop this recipe into our winter rotation now!

Warm Barley Salad

  • 2 cups pearl barley, cooked, drained, and cooled
  • 4 oz. button mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rings
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 6 oz. mixed hearty greens (I used chicory and spinach)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cook the pearl barley according to package instructions and set aside to cool.

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the mushrooms in the butter and olive oil. Add half the salt and half of the ground black pepper. Cook until deep brown in color - about 15 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms into a glass bowl. Set aside.

Add the shallots to the hot skillet, along with the remaining salt and ground black pepper. Sauté the shallots until they are deep brown in color - about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook into the shallots for 1-2 minutes.

Add the shallot and garlic mixture to the bowl with the mushrooms. Be sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape all of butter out of the skillet.

Transfer the cooled barley to the warm skillet. Stir the barely around, using the residual heat from the pan to slightly warm the cooked barley.

Add the cooked mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Toss in the fresh mixed hearty greens and the lemon juice. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2-4 servings, depending on whether you are serving it as a side or a main course
  • Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.