For those living in the northeast, we have been experiencing bitter cold weather. Then when you least expect it, it's 50 degrees and raining. UGH! I keep looking out into our back yard dreaming of being back in our gardens. I miss looking out and seeing kale, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, fresh herbs and of course, raspberries and blackberries.
Every Sunday, Jeff and I look through recipe books to figure our meals for the week. We take time on Sunday to prepare them so that we can come home and just reheat or add to what has been prepared. Makes for an easier night after a long workday. Jeff mentioned getting some kale to possibly add to a bean soup recipe. We grew and ate so much kale last summer and it was delicious. Whether grilling the kale, making chips or adding it to our favorite summer salad, kale was one of my favorite vegetables in our garden last year.
Jeff found a great recipe that had barley, pine nuts, currants and kale it was called Lemony Barley Salad with Kale Pesto. He found it as he was going through old food magazines and it appeared in the August 2014 Food and Wine.
As much as this was a summer recipe, making it in January was perfect. We have been looking for lighter side dishes and this seemed perfect. It had that wonderful kale flavor and the currants and pine nuts added a slightly sweet and nutty taste. The lemon juice and lemon zest finished the dish perfectly. We ate it as a side dish with salmon and then we proceeded to eat it for lunch all week. It was so good, it was almost addicting. The flavors are different but refreshing.
If you are looking for a garden fresh side dish at your next meal, this is an easy and delicious dish. If you have a backyard garden, like we do, it will get you excited for the spring season and considerations of fresh kale growing in it.
Ingredients for Lemony Barley Salad with Kale Pesto
- 1 cup of pearled barley or quick barley
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
- 1/2 cup of olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 cup of currants
- 1 tablespoon of minced shallots
- 6 ounces of kale, stems removed, tear leaves into small pieces (about 4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- kosher salt, for taste
1. In a medium pan, cook barley according to directions. We used the quick barley. Place in a medium bowl, set aside.
2. In a small skillet, over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until slightly golden, 3-5 minutes. Remove pine nuts from pan and place in a small dish.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and saute the currants and shallots until the shallots are slightly golden, 3-5 minutes. Add this, along with the pine nuts, to the barley. Stir to blend.
4. Using a food processor, pulse two-thirds of the kale with the lemon juice. With the machine running, slowly add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and continue to puree until smooth. Taste and season with salt.
5. Add the remaining kale and kale pesto to the barley mixture. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and if you would like, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest.
6. Serve immediately.
NOTE: This salad is great slightly warmed or cool. Perfect with grilled chicken or fish.