Monday, March 18, 2013

Mushroom Barley Salad

{Meatless Monday}

This one comes from the most recent Martha Stewart Living Magazine.  Since they discontinued Everyday Food (boohoo!), they are filling the rest of my subscription with their main magazine.  I think this stood out to me since my hubby and I both LOVE mushrooms and also because he has recently decided that he likes barley (as opposed to brown rice, which he hates.)

The recipe is SUPER easy to throw together...especially if you cook the barley beforehand.  Barley, like brown rice, takes about 45 minutes to it definitely needs a little planning ahead!

Here's what you'll need...
I will give you what the recipe actually calls for, but I substituted nearly everything ; ), so I will also tell you what I used.

Olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. mixed mushrooms     I used white and crimini
1 shallot, minced                        I used a regular yellow onion
3 T sherry vinegar                 I used 1/2 balsamic (or red-wine) vinegar and 1/2 rice vinegar 
1/2 cup creme fraiche               I used fat-free sour cream
3 T chopped fresh chives         I used dried chives
3 teaspoons fresh thyme           I used dried thyme--I wish I had used way 1/2 tsp?  
2 small heads Bibb lettuce        I used Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked barley
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts        I used toasted sliced almonds--loved them!
1/2 cup fresh parsley

You will need to cook about 1/2 cup of barley to get 1 1/2 cups cooked.  I have always used Pearl Barley and I buy mine in bulk at Winco.  It is just as cheap as white rice.  Just follow the directions on y our bag from the store.  It is easy!  Just plan ahead so it can cook for 45 minutes.

Heat 1-2 T olive oil in a large skillet.  Cook the mushrooms with 1/2 to 1 tsp salt, stirring occasionally, until deeply golden.  Transfer to a bowl.  

 Cook onion in a small amount of oil until softened.  Add 2 T vinegar and simmer until reduced by half.  Remove from heat and whisk in creme fraiche (or sour cream) and remaining 1 T vinegar.  Whisk in 3 T more olive oil.  Add chives and thyme and season with salt and pepper.  (I personally like thyme, but think that its "woodsy" flavor can quickly overwhelm a dish, so next time I will use it sparingly!)  

This is what my "dressing" ended up looking like....

Combine lettuce, barley, mushrooms, nuts, and parsley.  Add dressing from pan.  Toss to coat then  season with salt and pepper to taste.

I like to sprinkle on just a little Parmesan cheese for the finishing touch.  I like the little extra flavor it adds to the dish.

I have made this again and we really love it.  The second time I used red-wine vinegar instead of the balsamic and just a tiny sprinkle of thyme and it was perfect!

So if you have never cooked with barley, you should give it a try.  And as long as you like mushrooms, this recipe is a great place to start!

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