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Roasted vegetable & barley salad

(Makes 6 – 8 side dish servings)

Make ahead note: Salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Return to room temperature before serving.

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, diced

4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (2 pint containers)

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups pearl barley

3 cups water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup crumbled goat feta cheese

 

1. Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425°F.

2. Toss eggplant, tomatoes and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast vegetables until eggplant is golden brown and tender and tomatoes are shriveled, stirring halfway through, about 25 minutes.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil for 1 minute more. Add water and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer barley to baking pan with roasted vegetables and spread to cool, about 20 minutes.

5. Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, honey, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and oil; pour over the barley and vegetables along with the basil and feta; mix together, and transfer to a serving bowl or platter.

Make ahead note: Salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Return to room temperature before serving.