This salad recipe is adapted from “Ancient Grains for Modern Families” by Maria Speck (Ten Speed, $29.99). Speck used marinated dried figs in the salad, which are delicious.
But I changed my mind about the figs when I had a luscious quinoa salad at Marche Moderne restaurant (Newport Coast). It was adorned with candied kumquats. Reset.
I love the sweet-tart spark that those kumquats added to the mix, so I subbed them in for the dried figs. Kumquats are like inside-out oranges. The peel is sweet while the interior is tart. They are rich in vitamin C and are generally available from November through July.
Barley Salad with Kumquats and Tarragon
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
2 cups water
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 (2-by-1-inch) strip lemon zest (colored portion of peel)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided use
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (about 4), white and light green parts (save dark stalks for garnish)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unpeeled cored tart apples, such as Granny Smith
Cook’s notes: Salad can be prepared (without the apples or garnish) 6 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and garnish before serving. If serving as a vegetarian entrée, garnish with toasted walnuts or almonds.
1. Cook barley: Place water, barley, lemon zest strip and salt in a 2-quart saucepan; bring to boil on high heat. Decrease heat and simmer, covered, until barley is tender but slightly chewy, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid. Spread out on rimmed baking sheet to cool. Discard zest.
2. Cut kumquats in half lengthwise; pluck out and discard any large seeds with tip of a paring knife. Place 1/2 cup water and sugar in saucepan; bring to boil on high heat. Decrease heat and simmer 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add kumquats and simmer 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool (I reserve the syrup that is drained from the kumquats and store it in the refrigerator to use in cocktails.)
3. In a salad bowl, combine lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper; whisk to combine. Whisk in oil in thin stream. Add tarragon and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley; stir to combine. Add celery, green onions and apples, cooled barley and cooled kumquats. Gently toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish with 1 thinly sliced dark green onion stalk and remaining parsley.