I am part of a fantastic little group who meet monthly. We go by the name “Cuisine Club”. This monthly date has filled a very large gap which was left when my “Book Club” ceased to exist almost two years ago. As someone who adores food, this monthly gathering of six gorgeous women, who also adore food, combines great company, restaurant quality cuisine and matching wines. It’s not hard to understand how this makes for the highlight of my month.
One of said gorgeous women served this for our February get-together and I have made variations of it approximately 5 times since (I’m not kidding, it’s just that yummy!)
Pearl Barley, Fresh Apricot & Grilled Pork Salad with 5-Spice Vinaigrette
1 C pearl barley, rinsed
1 C frozen edamame
400 g pork fillet
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 apricots or peaches, pitted & sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 C of your choice of nut, lightly roasted & roughly chopped
1/3 C dried cranberries (or goji berries)
handful of corinder, roughly chopped
1/4 C olive oil
2 t sesame oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 t ground Chinese 5-spice
Dressing: Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl & season (or shake in a small jar)
Cook the barley in a large pot of plenty of boiling salted water for 25 minutes, or until tender. It will still have a chewy bite to it which is how you know it is ready. Drain & refresh in cold water, then drain well again.
Cook the edamame in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water and drain again.
Season the port fillet with salt & pepper. Heat a little oil in a fry pan over medium heat and cook the pork for 12 minutes, or until just cooked through, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer to a shallow dish & cool.
To assemble: Slice the port, and place back in the dish with the resting juices. Put the barley, dressing and all the remaining ingredients – except the pork – into a large bowl and gently mix to combine. Serve with the pork sliced alongside and pour over any resting juices.
** I have made this with chicken, lamb & pork and all have been delicious.
** I have used cashews as the original recipe calls for, but I have also used toasted walnuts and toasted almonds – all of which have been delicious.
** I have made this using peaches instead of apricots and wouldn’t hesitate leaving them out all together once they are out of season.
** I have also made a straight salad version of this (no meat accompanying) and included feta.
* Pearl Barley is available at any good food store – Nosh, Farro etc and can also be found in every supermarket in the soup section with the dried soup mixes.
Adapted from Dish Magazine, Issue 46, Feb – Mar 2013.