May 26, 2011

Kale Barley Salad

This may be my favorite raw kale salad yet! Then again, any salad with blue cheese usually gets my vote. I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch.

Kale Barley Salad
adapted from In Praise of Leftovers

1/2 red onion, cut into thin rings and then into quarters
3/4 cup raw barley, 2 cups cooked barley
1 head curly kale, washed, ribbed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 c. pan-toasted pecans*, chopped
1/2 c. dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 c. crumbled Danish blue cheese (or other firm blue cheese)
zest from one lemon

1 minced garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

For dressing: Mix the first five ingredients in a large measuring cup. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste. Drop in onions and let them marinate for at least 20 minutes.

For salad: Cook barley in lots of boiling water for about 45 minutes. More water will prevent the barley from sticking together. After the barley is done (grains will be soft, but still a little chewy), drain and run cold water over the barley to cool. Drain water. You can do this one day ahead if you want.  Alternatively, cook barley (1 parts barley to 2.5 parts water) in a rice cooker.

Toss barley with kale and most of the pecans, blue cheese, dried cherries, and dressing. Scatter the remaining ingredients, the lemon zest, and a few marinated onions from the dressing over the top. Unlike most salads, this can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours. Add the blue cheese right before serving.

* To toast pecans, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pecans and stir frequently until they start to get dark spots. This takes a few minutes only - be careful not to let the pecans burn.

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