One of the perks of having written a cookbook besides, well, pride and joy, is having an archive of perfectly tested recipes that cater precisely to your tastes. While it’s rare that I follow a recipe in the kitchen, choosing instead to follow my whims and the ingredients in my fridge, it is nice to have a base formula that I know I can count on. You know, rather than changing everything about a recipe, I can just throw in additions and substitutions here and there.
This one was published in In the Small Kitchen. Until I bastardized it, adding tons of vegetables, lots of spice, and plenty of color unti it was virtually unrecognizable as the corn and barely salad it once had been. OK, that’s not totally true: it was still the corn and barley salad that it always has been.
And that’s not a bad thing! The reason that I make (and love) my many grain salads is because they’re a filling, healthful alternative to other plate-filling carbs like bread and mashed potatoes. Especially in summer, when I don’t want to be too full to run around outdoors (or pull on my bikini), I’m pretty happy to sub in quinoa, bulgur, and barley for my standard white sourdough. Best of all, grain salads can be a full meal (like this Quinoa Salad with Basil Vinaigrette, Corn, and Black Beans), deeming them perfect make-ahead vegetarian picnic food.
Cara is the editor of Big Girls, Small Kitchen and Small Kitchen College.
Chipotle Barley Salad with Corn, Zucchini, and Radishes
Adapted from In the Small Kitchen
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup pearl barley, thoroughly rinsed in cold water and drained
1 cup diced zucchini
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or shallot
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-2 teaspoons adobo from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, plus a little chopped chipotle
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup corn kernels, cut from the cob or defrosted frozen
1/4 cup diced radishes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
In a medium stockpot, bring 2 1/2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the barley and reduce to low heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until the barley is al dente. If liquid remians, drain the barley in a colander or use the lid of the pot to strain off any excess moisture. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring another small pot of water to boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the diced zucchini and cook for about 2 minutes, until the zucchini is just cooked. Drain in a colander and shock with cold water. Drain again and set aside.
In a salad bowl, whisk together the red onion, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, and adobo. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you go, until the dressing is emulsified. Stir in the cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
Add the barley, zucchini, corn, radishes, and cilantro and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning, and serve at room temperature, garnished with the extra cilantro. This can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the fridge. Let come to room temp before serving.