This salad is one of my new year-round favorites, since it tastes wonderful whether you use frozen or fresh local sweet corn and veggies. Barley was domesticated as a crop about 8,000 BCE, but over the millennia we’ve mostly relegated its use to animal fodder, beer and soup. Not that there’s anything wrong with those uses, but I was psyched to rediscover barley as a versatile salad base. The Locavorious kitchen crew recently whipped up a big batch of this sweet corn & barley salad recipe below to bring to Food Gatherers’ fundraising event Grillin’ 2012 back in June. I like combining old world whole grain barley and corn, with “newly discovered” garlic scapes. Since it was June, we used frozen corn, frozen peppers, frozen green beans, dried hot pepper, and fresh garlic scapes. When the veggies are in season later in the summer, you can use fresh corn, beans, sweet and hot peppers, and substitute garlic cloves and other herbs for the scapes.
5-6 cups water with optional salt
1 cup barley
One or two containers of Locavorious frozen sweet corn, thawed completely – or in the summer, 4 ears sweet corn, cooked, cooled and cut off the cob
½ cup (1.5 oz) thinly sliced scallions
3 oz sweet red peppers, coarsely chopped, frozen or fresh
3 oz green beans, coarsely chopped, frozen or fresh
2 oz thinly sliced garlic scapes, frozen or fresh. If garlic scapes are not in season, or no frozen ones are available use 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced.
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 large frozen Roma – peel, let thaw…or of course if fresh tomatoes are in season use one of those.
Dressing: 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, ¼ tsp cayenne (can omit if using fresh jalopeno)
In a large saucepan bring the water and salt (if desired) to a boil. Add barley and cook, stirring occasionally, for ~ 40 minutes, until tender. Drain barley in a colander, rinse under cold water and let drain. When the barley has cooled down a bit, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the corn and all the other vegetables, and toss ingredients well.
To make dressing, blend or whisk together the vinegar, oil, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne. Pour dressing over salad, and toss well to combine ingredients thoroughly. Cover bowl, and chill.
One hour before serving, stir in a little extra parsley, and allow salad to come to room temperature.