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Barley and Pomegranate Salad

This salad goes down very easily.

I did not plan to post about grain salads two weeks in a row, or about grain salads that involve a lot of messy, red splatters in the process. Today it’s pomegranates not beets but I dare say they are messier than the beets. But worth it! I rarely use pomegranates but Yotam Ottolenghi can convince me to use most anything. And I have struggled with barley salads in the past, as you might recall, but no more.

I ate pomegranates when I lived in southern Italy and remember being enchanted seeing them growing for the first time. They are beautiful and they are a bit of pain. I found splatters about seven feet up on a kitchen wall about six feet from where I had been working. Wear an apron when you’re picking out the seeds and wipe down your walls afterwards. And if you have tricks to extract the seeds with less mess, please share!

The touch of allspice and the plentiful sherry vinegar are key to the perfection of this dish.

Other than that, this salad is a cinch. It’s subtly seasoned with ground allspice and minced garlic and more forcefully so with sherry vinegar. The result is a crunchy, juicy, fresh yet hearty salad that is nothing short of gorgeous. Enjoy!

Pretty Salad.

Happy Cooking and Eating!

P.S. One spot left in this Saturday’s class, that I’m now calling Party with Class (instead of Eat, Drink & Be Merry). The menu of both cocktails and treats is, well, a bit ridiculous. . . I’m going to be prepping and cooking for the next few days straight.

Barley and Pomegranate Salad
–adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

This is a gorgeous, fresh and unexpected combination. It’s lovely this time of year when pomegranates show up in the markets. I did not have dill on hand either of the times I’ve made this and it was wonderful. I’m sure it would be even better with dill, as written below.

Serves 4-6 as side

1 cup pearl or hulled barley (hulled is the whole grain version and takes a bit longer to cook and is what I used here)
6 celery stalks (leaves picked and reserved, stalks cut into small dice)
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped dill
seeds of one large pomegranate

Cook barley in salted water until tender, 30 – 40 minutes. Drain barley and transfer to a bowl. Add oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper and celery and mix well. Let cool, then add herbs and pomegranate seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jennifer #

    Cut pom in 1/2, submerge in cool water in a bowl big enough to get your hands into. Extract the seeds under water…they float to the top, the other gunk to the bottom. Voila!

    December 8, 2011
  2. I was at Katherine’s lunch gathering yesterday and got to sample this amazing salad first-hand. It instantly shot straight to the top of my “NEW FAVORITES” list — it’s beyond fabulous! Can’t wait to come back for more classes with you.

    December 8, 2011
    • It was great to meet you Heather and I look forward to having you in another class soon. And yes, this salad is definitely on my favorites list too!

      December 8, 2011
  3. This is gorgeous. Very festive colors. I was going to suggest the same water bowl idea, though I still do it the 7-foot-splatters way.

    December 8, 2011
  4. Hi Katherine,
    My Kate made a salad with pamegranate and toasted pine nuts with greens for Thanksgiving. I helped take the seed out of the fruit. It seemed that the little pit in the middle of the seed is smaller than I remember. Also, 1.5 yo grandaughter adored them. I’m eager to try this salad. Maybe for Christmas.

    December 8, 2011
    • It would be perfect for Christmas, and yes the little seed inside the seed, so to speak, is pretty innocuous.

      December 8, 2011
  5. Elenor Jeter #

    I recently heard that a good trick is to deal with (get the seeds out of) the pomegranate under water. I guess the seeds will drop to the bottom and the flesh will float (or visa versa). Sounds like it would work and make much less of a mess and stain your clothing less. Good luck!!

    December 8, 2011
  6. Carol Boutard #

    The pictures are so beautiful I almost burst into tears! What a great way to lighten up the barley. I will try it with our hulless barley this week.

    December 9, 2011
    • Let me know how your barley works with it though I’m sure it will be wonderful.

      December 9, 2011
  7. Mary Lane #

    Just made it for a potluck tonight. Wow it’s pretty. And deconstructing the pom was a cinch in a big bowl of water. Seeds sink, pith floats. Pour off top level of water to get rid of little piths, then strain.

    December 10, 2011
  8. Oh wow, I have this cookbook but hadn’t focussed on this recipe. Serendipitously I have most the ingredients on hand, so I’ll be making a version of this tonight. Thanks for highlighting it!

    December 20, 2011
  9. ps I don’t have the dill either–that’s in fact the one ingredient I don’t have–so I’m glad that you’ve road tested it without. I really should just buy dill every week along with my parsley, I’m always needing it!

    December 20, 2011

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