Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Barley with Roasted Grapes and Pomegranates

Here's another recipe for Tu B'Shvat. I'm afraid you can't fob this one off on the kids like the Magic Cookie Bars. But with barley, grapes, pomegranates, almonds and olive oil (still counts), you're knocking out most of the Seven Species for your scavenger hunt holiday meal.

And don't give me the side-eye about the roasted grapes. They're actually pretty cool - halfway between grapes and raisins, but smokier. At least you can discretely eat around them if they don't float your boat. One of my kids has convinced himself that he doesn't like onions, though. Is there anything more annoying than having a child wrinkle his nose and pull an onion out of your cooking as if it were a human hair? I think not!

So, in my ideal world, the shallots would be sliced thinly. But in my less-than-ideal home, they get minced. Whaddaya gonna do?

Barley with Roasted Grapes and Pomegranates
3 cups washed grapes, off the stem
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup pearled barley
3 cups warm water
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds

In a large saucepan, sauté the shallots in the butter or oil for several minutes until translucent. Add the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and barley, cooking for an additional three minutes. Slowly pour in the water, it will steam up like mad, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, approximately 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spread the grapes on it, toss with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and put into a 375 degree oven. Toss every five minutes to prevent sticking, and remove when shrunken and wrinkled, but still plump.

When you're ready to serve, fluff the barley and spoon it onto your serving platter. Scatter the grapes on top, and garnish with the almonds and pomegranate.

Serves 6.


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