I made this very yummy salad from this wonderful blog. Now if you were to tell me that I would like kale years ago I would think you were crazy. I remember tasting it many moons ago thinking, “This is rabbit food, except worst!” Well, I have changed my mind since and I plead with you to do the same if you are one who thinks eating rabbit food sounds pretty crummy.
I was originally going to serve this along side roasted chicken, but thought to myself, “there’s carbs and protein in it–why do I need to defrost chicken? Plus, it’s a wonderful sunny day and eating this salad just makes me feel healthy (we won’t talk about the two chocolate ganache cupcakes I ate though–will we).”
Plus, I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate the grain world with the vegetable world outside of a pasta salad. So if you’re simply wanting to make dinner, or make a side dish for guests coming over, or going to a celebration–this is a great summer salad (or not summer) to make.
**Plus the great thing about kale is it doesn’t wilt if you put dressing on it and store it in the fridge to eat the next day.
Birthday Barley Salad Recipe from www.inpraiseofleftovers.com
2 cups barley
1 head curly kale, washed, ribbed, and finely chopped
1 c. roasted pecans
1/2 c. dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 c. crumbled Danish blue cheese (or other firm blue cheese)
zest from one lemon
1 minced garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste (don’t be shy with your salt!)
1/2 ts. smoked paprika
4 Tb. apple cider vinegar
2 Tb. honey
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, cut into thin rings
For dressing: Mix the first five ingredients in a large measuring cup. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste. Drop in onions and let them marinate for at least 20 minutes.
For salad: Cook barley in lots of boiling water for about 45 minutes. There needs to be plenty of water so it won’t stick together–you want the grains to be separate. After it’s done (grains will be soft, but still a little chewy), drain it and run cold water over it. You can do this one day ahead if you want.
Toss barley with kale and most of the pecans, blue cheese, dried cherries, and dressing. I use my hands to do this. Scatter some of the remaining ingredients, the lemon zest, and a few marinated onions from the dressing over the top. I always like my audience to know exactly what’s in the salad just by looking at it. Grind a bit more pepper if you like.