Yes I know this blog is called Sophie Likes Cake and that this is not cake. Sophie likes other foods too though. Sophie also has to eat foods like salad to help compensate for all the cake she eats. Sophie is also going to stop typing in the third person now.
I found some pomegranates at the Asian supermarket near work, two for $3! Like what is this unheard of madness? So I snatched two up and they had been sitting in my fridge for almost a week before I figured out what to do with the precious fruit.
Mum suggested a pearl barley and pomegranate salad from the Ripe Deli cookbook so after nicking pretty much all of her pomegranate molasses for the dressing I set about making this delicious salad.
This salad was delicious. I had some suspicious looking kumara in my fridge that I added too. Asparagus also had to make an appearance because it is EVERYWHERE and it is delicious and I had like five bundles in my fridge that needed to be used.
I googled why asparagus can have some unpleasant side effects down the line. We can blame sulphur containing methyl mercaptan for the charming results. Via the course of digestion, methyl mercaptan gets broken down into an array of smaller sulphur containing molecules which are volatile at (bath)room temperature and therefore smellable. Also if you think asparagus doesn’t affect you, think again. Chances are you are just unable to smell the sulphurous volatiles when you take a trip to the powder room because of a weird mutation you and a small proportion of the population happen to have in common.
I made a big batch of this salad up and transferred it into an array of jars for the week’s lunches. It was pretty hipster but way cheaper than buying the jar salads from the place in town ($15 a measly pop).
You can buy pomegranate molasses from more specialty shops or in more elaborate supermarkets (check the super flash or international isles). Go to the soup mix section or your bulk bins to find pearl barley, it is super cheap and way more interesting to eat than rice or pasta in this salad.
All the ingredients in this are super in season right now so you would be silly not to make the most of them. This also blows an awful potato salad right out of the water if brought to a pre-season barbecue. Just saying.
Delicious Spring Vegetable Pearl Barley Salad
Adapted from Ripe Recipes by Angela Redfern
Makes a rather large platter
2 carrots, chopped into smallish chunks however you fancy
1 large kumara, chopped into smallish chunks
1 tablespoon sumac
1 aubergine, sliced into chunks as well
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Splash of oil
A few grinds of salt
1 small bag salad greens
1 bunch asparagus, each spear chopped in half or in thirds
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
1 avocado, diced
1 cup mint leaves, torn or roughly chopped
1 ½ cups pearl barley
7 ½ cups water
2 teaspoons salt
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup neutral oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake. Toss the carrots and kumara in a splash of oil and the sumac then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Toss the aubergine slices in oil and place them on the tray too. Give the vegetables a good sprinkling of salt then bake for 30-40 minutes until tender and beginning to go golden at the edges (this will depend on the size of your chunks). Remove from the oven when done and leave to cool.
To cook the barley, place the barley, water and salt in a large sauce pan and bring to the boil. Boil away for 15-20 minutes until the barley is al dente. Strain and leave to cool also (I scatter my barley across a large plate to speed up cooling).
Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water for two minutes before draining and plunging in cool water to stop them from overcooking. If you are super onto it place the asparagus in the pot of pearl barley two minutes before draining –saves water and on the number of pots!
Sauté the onion and garlic in another small splash of oil until translucent then toss this in with the barley.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.
In a large bowl, toss the barley, roast veges, asparagus, mint and salad greens together with a few splashes of the dressing (you don’t want to drown it). Top with the pomegranate seeds and diced avocado. Serve with the rest of the dressing on the side.