Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Something Fishy with Barley Salad on the Side

The weather has been so beautiful lately. It made us want to grill and dine on the deck. But what to grill? I don't know why it took us so long to decide. We wandered round & round the meat & seafood counters at Costco before finally selecting a huge piece of salmon.

Yes. Salmon. I know. Me, the person who doesn't really like fish, actually uttered the words,"Buy the salmon. It looks good."

There's a reason. My mom is in town. She likes fish. And we wanted to make her a tasty meal on Sunday.

We started soaking our cedar plank Saturday evening. We have a cookie sheet with a high rim, so we soak the plank in that. We weigh it down with glasses since the plank likes to float. SP seasoned the fish with olive oil and lemon-pepper seasoning. Very simple, but flavorful. Here's fishy, on the burnt plank on the grill:
I don't know what is was, maybe the glasses of viognier I drank before dinner, maybe I was super hungry, maybe the side dishes were so tasty I forgot I was eating fish, or maybe this was just a really delicious fish, but to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. So simple, just enough lemon-pepper to give a hint of flavor. Olive oil to keep it moist. Or maybe it's that this was a very fresh piece of fish? Often, we will buy fish and freeze it, or buy bags of frozen fish. The last time we ate fish was some frozen tilapia and it was... fishy funky. Bleah.
But this lovely fresh beauty? Delicious. I told SP I would eat more fish if we bought it fresh and only fresh. No more frozen.

The sides werereally tasty. We bought a bunch of tomatoes at Costco. I cored and sliced two of them, placed them on a cookie sheet, sprinkled the slices with panko, dried basil, and grated parmesan, drizzled olive oil over, and roasted at 400 for about 15 minutes. I love roasted tomatoes.
We took the kale from the CSA and seasoned it with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then SP grilled it in our big grill basket. The basket lets him toss it around a lot, so the kale doesn't burn, but it still crisps up nicely. It's much easier in the grill basket than trying to get the oily kale leaves on a cookie sheet in the oven.
Crispy. Salty. Even mom liked the kale chips and she at first turned her nose up at the kale! I like kale prepared like this. The crispy, crunchy texture helps me get past the strong taste kale has, the bitter taste, and I can't help but think of all the iron & vitamins in it when I eat kale! I don't much like it steamed or sauteed.
Barley-Mushroom-Asparagus Salad. I found this recipe by accident when I was clicking around, looking for food inspiration. It was down in a corner and caught my eye because lately, we've been having a lot of discussions about broadening our grain varieties. More quinoa, more barley, maybe farro.

There's even been talk of trying to eat more beans/lentils. I'm much more into the idea of more quinoa and more barley!

Barley, to me, doesn't have much taste. It's a harmless food. If I didn't know the little cream colored blobs were barley, I might think they were little pasta pearls. Add in some sauteed mushrooms, sauteed shallot, roasted asparagus, season with fresh thyme & parsley, and mix in a lemon-mustard vinaigrette. So good! The vinaigrette is not too strong, not too lemony, it just adds a bit of tang and freshness.

The official recipe calls for uncooked sliced mushrooms to marinate in lemon juice & salt, while half a shallot is chopped and added to the vinaigrette. I prefer mushrooms and shallots sauteed, so that's what I did, but I didn't saute the mushrooms for too long. They were still quite firm.

Also, instead of pouring the barley-mushroom mixture over the roasted asparagus spears, I chopped the asparagus into one inch pieces, roasted the pieces, and then tossed them into the salad.

This salad is definitely a keeper.

1 comment:

  1. Looks good but officially that probably wasn't salmon you ate since I don't think Costco currently has skin-on fresh salmon (which that fish appears to have ;) ), unless you buy a whole fish (which the Cranberry location fairly regularly stocks but I only rarely see it at the Robinson or Waterfront locations). I suspect it's steelhead (a.k.a. rainbow trout), which is definitely very similar though and easily mistakable for salmon.