Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chopped Chard Salad with Purple Barley and Harissa

The Register Guard had a nice article about Jeff Broadie and Kasey White of Lonesome Whistle Farm, who hosted a farm tour and potluck dinner today. It was inspiring to see how two people's hard work and chutzpap can create such bounty from the earth. My son was particularly impressed with their collection of antique tractors and combines and my daughter loved sampling their various grains from the stalks, including these hulless oats, due to be harvested tomorrow. 

The potluck spread was bountiful and delicious, especially when eaten seated on hay bales and serenaded by a blue grass band. I had made a chard salad with Lonesome Whistle Farm's purple hulless barley (new crop due to be harvested in a month).

I assembled it before leaving for the farm tour, but didn't think to take a picture, and it was almost all gone when we returned. It was very tasty, so I'll jot down the recipe below while it's still fresh in my head, along with the fiddle refrains.

Chopped Chard Salad with Purple Barley and Harissa

harissa barley
1 cup purple barley 
1 large bunch of Swiss chard
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp harissa
4 ounces feta cheese

salad dressing
juice of one small lemon
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Sort through the barley, rinse, and soak overnight. Rinse, add about 4 cups of fresh water with a generous pinch of salt, and cook over low heat until tender, about 90 minutes. Drain the barley, reserving the cooking liquid. 

2. Slice each chard leaf along its length to remove the leaves from the stem. Reserve the leaves and cut the stems into a 1/4 inch dice. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. 

3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until glassy. Add the chopped chard stems and continue to cook until they start to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional couple of minutes. The onions should have started to caramelize at this point. Now add the cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika and cook for a minute and the add the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the drained barley, the harissa, and a splash of the reserved barley water and simmer for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and add more salt or harissa to your liking. Reserve.

4. Chop the chard leaves lengthwise into about 1 inch strips and crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces. Whisk together the ingredients for the salad dressing and adjust to taste. Toss the chopped chard with the salad dressing.

5. When you are ready to serve, crumble the feta cheese into the barley, and then toss the barley with the dressed chopped chard. 

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