Barley, Leek, & Parsley Salad With Salt Preserved Lemons
I never know what to do with leeks. So when I get them in my CSA farm box, the leeks just end up hanging around in my fridge for weeks, stinking up the joint. I mean, outside of RenFaire and books about dragons and the Black Plague, when do you even hear about people eating leek dishes?
Leeks are my least favorite allum.
I got leeks in my farm box three weeks ago. And, for the last three weeks I’ve been annoyed by the sight of them every time I open my little refrigerator. Seriously, who needs leeks in a world that has scallions?
Luckily, I do some of my best improvisational cooking when I’m annoyed.
The following recipe serves six people, as barley is super filling.
1 cup of dried pearl barley
3 cups of water
2 big leeks
1 big bunch of flat leaf parsley (about 2 cups of leaves)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 of a salt preserved lemon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
yogurt to taste
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the dried pearl barley, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook covered until the barley is tender (25-45 minutes).
While the barley is cooking, cut the white and light green parts of the leeks into thin half moon slices. Remove the stems from the parsley and coarsely chop the leaves. Since I like salty and sour flavors, I chopped up half a salt preserved lemon into little chunks. If you don’t like sour and salty, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon zest for the preserved lemon. (That said, salt preserved lemon is waaaaay yummier).
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan. Add the sliced leeks and cook them until they carmelize (7-10 minutes). Once the leeks are carmelized, add the parsley leaves, cinnamon, pepper, and allspice to the pan and cook everything for an additional 2 minutes until the parsley wilts down and the spices become fragrant.
Mix the vegetables into the cooked barley. Adjust the spices to suit your taste. Serve warm. I added a large dollop of greek yogurt to my salad before serving, but this recipe can be made vegan by substituting soy yogurt or by leaving the yogurt out entirely.
What’s your favorite leek recipe?