Thursday, March 3, 2011

Barley, Feta and Pear Salad

Welcome to day five of Greek week. That's right, Greek week isn't a work week, it's a full seven days and still going strong.  So break out the ouzo and make yourself comfortable.

I don't think my husband will mind if I say I fell in love with this salad (he's not the jealous type). I just loved the warm and cold combination. And all those distinct flavors that work so well together: the tangy feta with the sweet pear and slightly bitter radicchio. Plus the variety of textures: the crunchy nuts, chewy barley and soft pear.  All with just the right amount of light dressing to let all those flavors shine through. I wish I knew how to say delicious in Greek (I looked it up, but that didn't really help me).
Makes 4 servings

2/3 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 large (or 2 small) celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small head radicchio, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 firm, ripe pear, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1.      Cook barley in boiling water until tender, about 30 minutes.
2.      Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375° F.  Toast walnuts on a sheet pan until golden, about 7 minutes.
3.      Drain barley and transfer to a bowl. Add feta, walnuts, parsley, celery, radicchio, pear, lemon juice, and oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste (it may not need much salt if the feta is very salty). Toss until combined.

adapted from Gourmet, November 1998
chopped radicchio
fresh parsley
cooked pearl barley
mixing the salad

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