Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Citrus Barley Salad

My first real paycheck job was at Twin Pines Camp when I was in high school, but my first job that didn’t involve making campfires and going on nature walks was behind the deli counter at the Moravian Book Shop in downtown Bethlehem.
I LOVED that job. I learned so much about food! Daily I learned life-altering lessons – What flavors work best together? What is quiche? How are cappuccinos made? Is there anything in the world better that a great balsamic vinaigrette dressing?
At least weekly I would help myself to a spoonful (or more) of one of the deli’s signature salads: the citrus barley salad. A delightful and unexpected combination of pearl barley, cinnamon, mandarin oranges, honey and walnuts, it is the perfect side dish for a sandwich or a sweet, healthy bite for dessert.
Today I live almost 2,800 miles from the Moravian Book Shop, and I dream about that barley salad. My first attempt to recreate the recipe was surprisingly on point! Here, for your snacking enjoyment, is a little piece of my culinary past.
(I’m told the Moravian Book Shop still serves this salad. I hope you’ll go get some if you’re ever in the neighborhood.)
Citrus Barley SaladYield: approx. 6 half-cup servings
Ingredients:1 cup dry pearl barley
2 1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup canned mandarin orange slices in light syrup, drained; OR 2 single-serving cups mandarin orange slices in water no sugar added, drained
1/2 cup walnut pieces, unsalted (toasted if desired)
In medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add barley and cook over low heat 40-50 minutes until water is absorbed and barley is firm yet chewy.
Transfer cooked barley to a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss to combine. Add more honey and cinnamon to taste.
Cool salad to room temperature, then cover tightly and store in the fridge for up to a week. Serve cold or at room temperature.
(If crunchy walnuts are important to you, consider waiting to add them until just before serving.)

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