A Very Green Barley and Parsley Salad

Soon enough, I will post several exciting recipes from my recent trip to Italy. But today, I’m sharing a recipe I meant to present for a long time and which has been waiting to be published. It became a huge hit during past holidays and many friends have been enquiring me about it.

Some time ago, a friend, who is a great cook herself, brought me as a gift a cookbook “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, recommending it as a source of her many culinary inspirations. The book is beautifully published and recipes are nicely presented in a very modern way. Somehow I had not found the time earlier to go through it, imagining Jewish cuisine as the one I knew from Polish adaptations and to which I was not terribly attracted. But when this fall I started to read “Jerusalem ” I absolutely fell in love with it. The book is full of wonderful recipes that are a fusion of two bordering cuisines-Palestinian and Israeli. It presents dishes that are innovative, light and, surprisingly, often vegetarian. Almost each I tried so far, I already repeated and served at dinners with friends, earning many complements.

So today, a salad from “Jerusalem”, which became my favorite and even more special to me since I am very familiar with barley which has been always present in Polish cuisine. As almost all of the recipes from this cookbook, this one requires a lot of ingredients, that not everyone would have at hand in the pantry. But each of them is worth getting and trying as they make dishes complex and intriguing. And I promise that if you like this salad you will try every dish from “Jerusalem” and never will be disappointed. I already bought another book by Ottolenghi, one of “Jerusalem’s” authors and, as always, I’m looking for more ideas and inspiration.

The salad I share today is quite similar to its original version with the exception of celery sticks. I added them one day as I did not have enough green pepper. It made salad even more green, crispy, and healthy, so ever since it has become my customary ingredient. The barley salad tastes great with meats or just by itself.

Barley and Parsley Salad
(Serves four)

1/4 cup pearl barley,
a small bunch of spring onion, sliced,
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into small pieces,
a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped,
2 celery sticks thinly sliced (optional),
2 garlic cloves, minced,
1/2 cup feta cheese,
6 tbsp olive oil,
1 tsp zatar (a mix of Middle Eastern herbs),
1 tsp coriander seeds toasted and crushed,
1/2 tsp ground allspice,
1/2 tsp ground cumin,
1/3 cup cashew nuts toasted and chopped,
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice,
salt and pepper.

1. Cook barley according to instruction until al dente. Drain on a colander and cool.
2. Place barley in a large bowl. Add parsley, spring onion, green pepper, celery (if used), garlic, cashew nuts, allspice, lemon juice and 4 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently all the ingredients and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, place feta broken into small pieces. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, the zatar, coriander seeds, and the cumin. Mix and leave for 10 minutes to marinate.

4. To finish the salad, sprinkle feta on top of greens and serve.

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