05 July 2013

Turning Lebanese (salad)...

Come to think of it, I don't even know if this recipe is a rip-off of a Lebanese salad.  Maybe it's an Israeli salad--?  While I sort out my accidental cultural insensitivity (and I will later apologize like Paula Deen), please enjoy this variation on yet another something you can eat cold for lunch or dinner.

Lebanese-American Salad

Serves 3-4 as a light meal

1 cup pearled barley, rinsed and sorted
1 cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh mint
1 garlic clove, peeled
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup diced cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
2 scallions, sliced
4 Romain leaves, rinsed, dried, and chiffonaded
2 tablespoons slivered almonds (optional)

Cook the barley in well-salted water about 20 minutes or until al dente.  (Or, skip the salt, use about 2 quarts water, and keep the spent liquid to drink later.)  Drain in a colander and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: place parsley, mint, garlic, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste in a food processor.  Blend until it forms a chunky pesto and stir into the barley.  When the barley is room temperature, add all the vegetables and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the almonds on top if using.