Thursday, July 26, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie - Lemon Barley Pilaf


This week´s recipe for the French Friday`s with Dorie group is Lemon Barley Pilaf. My grandmother used to put pearl barley (“Perlgraupen”) in her soups and I used to love the taste and the texture of the barley. I still do. There are two different kinds of pearl barley available in the stores, you can choose between fine or coarse barley. For this recipe I bought the fine barley – personal preference and it looks a tad more elegant.




There are only a few steps involved in the preparation of this recipe. You start by sautéeing the onion in a tablespoon of unsalted butter, then you add the barley to the onion and cook it for a few minutes. Then you cook the barley further by using homemade chicken broth and water. To the broth you add the bay leaf, simmer for 30 minutes, stir in the peas, scallions, lemon zest or, in my case, lemon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and you are done.

I believe the most difficult step when preparing this recipe was to decide what to serve the pilaf with. I decided to serve it alongside perch with tomatoes and fennel. The taste testers loved their lunch and really liked the pilaf with the fish.




Perch with Tomatoes and Fennel

Ingredients (serves four)
(adapted from Everyday Food July/August 2012)

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced lengthwise, plus fronds or fresh dill for serving (optional)
fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6  large tomatoes, peeled, cored and diced
1 1/2 pounds perch (or another fish of your choice such as halibut) cut into eight pieces/fillets




Preparation

1. In a large skillet heat the oil and add the fennel. Cook, stirring frequently, until nicely browned, 6 to 8 minutes then season the fennel with salt and pepper.
2. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
3. In the same skillet, add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Briefly brown the fish on both sides (about one to two minutes per side).
5. Take the perch out of the pan and place it on top of the tomato mixture and season with salt and pepper.
6. Cover and cook until the fish is just done, about 8 minutes (depending on how thick the pieces/fillets of fish are). You could also transfer the pan to the oven instead.

To serve, divide the tomatoes and fennel among four plates, top with perch and sprinkle with fennel fronds, if desired. And do not forget to serve the wonderful lemon barley pilaf alongside!




We all enjoyed the taste of Dorie´s  lemon barley pilaf very much. But I guess, once again, we are not the most impartial of taste testers because we like barley served as a side-dish, we like it in our soup and we like it cold as a salad.

This is a recipe that is easy to put together and it leaves a lot of room for some wonderful “interpretations” such as adding different seasonal veggies, some leftover chicken, herbs from the garden, etc. So, yes, I will be making this again.




Have a great weekend!


To see how the other creative Doristas prepared the Lemon Barley Pilaf, please click here.



42 comments:

  1. Andrea, you put together a great lunch! I do like barley and it looks good, even though it´s a simple dish. I´m skipping this week´s recipe again... will try to catch up sometime. Have a great week!

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    1. Thank you Paula - this was indeed a simple yet delicious dish!

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  2. That's a beautiful plate of food. It looks like it belongs in a restaurant.

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    1. It is wonderful when I get some wonderful fresh fish, so I could not pass up the opportunity to make a meal around the Lemon Barley Pilaf.

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  3. What stunning photos! Your barley looks a heck of a lot better than mine...and probably tasted better, too!!! I'd like your whole meal :)

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    1. Thank you Lizzy! We just happen to like eating barley, it is perhaps a bit more traditional to eat it around here and it is easy and fun to prepare when you already know that the taste testers are actually going to eat it.

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  4. Looking good and I think you picked the perfect thing to serve with this! Mine got a bit gummy for a pilaf but I still liked the flavor. I want lunch at your house!

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    1. If ever you happen to be in the neighbourhood, just come on over for lunch!

      P.S.: By the way, I read in one of your comments that you heard that "Eataly" had opened a market/store in Rome and that you did not really see why...well, if I may say so, the original concept of "Eataly" as a high-end Italian food market/mall chain was born in 2007 in Turin, Italy. The NY store opened as a partnership with the 3 well-known members only on Aug. 31, 2010. This idea is a huge success in Italy as well as in NYC and it proves that successful concepts in one place can often turn into successful concepts in another place...

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  5. Wow I am a slouch when it comes to lunch - usually just a sandwich or some leftovers from the night before. You made a beautiful lunch for your family and took amazing photos as usual! The perch looks great! We eat it a lot here in WI in the summer but it's usually fried - that's how we roll. I'd love to try it this way though.

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    1. Maggie, this recipe is worth a try and it turned out wonderfully although my original lunch plan called for halibut.

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  6. Gorgeous photos! I'm off to check out the kitchen store in Holland you recommended. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. You are very welcome! Safe travels and let me know when you return how you liked it!

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  7. Your barley looks so silky & smooth :-)
    Perch is such a nice fish, I wish it were more easily available here.

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    1. Thank you, Cher! Perch is not always available here either and I had wanted to buy halibut but that fish was impossible to find that day.

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  8. That is such a perfect dinner combination and it all looks delicious. I am not familiar with perch, but I like the look of
    yours and will have to do a little searching to try it. As for ingredients going over the fence, I am always happy to
    share with Tricia because I end up with all these ingredients that will not be used again for awhile.

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    1. Nana, I always love reading all your blog posts and the "fence moment" was really wonderful!

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  9. Your meal looks delicious. We like barley too and so I was very happy to learn a new and tasty preparation for it.

    And thank you for asking about my cat. Sadly he is not doing well:-(

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    1. Rose, sorry to hear about your cat! And unfortunately the summer weather did not last either but looking forward to some more sunny days soon!

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  10. Beautiful photos! That perch looks delicious! :)

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    1. Thank you, Jessica - perch is indeed quite delicious.

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  11. Andrea, I like how your barley looks like it was cooked perfectly, not too wet and risotto-like and not too dry either. You're right, the pearl barley does make for a more elegant dish. I'm going to make mine today, better late than never! :)

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    1. Maya, I will be "visiting" later to see how your Lemon Barley Pilaf turned out.

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  12. Andrea, Your Pilaf looks absolutely perfect! And your perch looks wonderfully delicious! Lovely presentation and beautiful photos! I was lucky to get mine done in time! We had some very heavy thunder storms come through, with hail and heavy winds! I thought we were going to lose power, it was flickering on and off! A crazy weather week for us!

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    1. Thank you, Kathy! And the weather has been crazy around here too - lightening and heavy rains and cold weather just after a mini heat wave...we did not loose power though.

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  13. I would say I am more excited about your perch recipe than the pilaf. The fennel sounds heavenly with perch. What other fish do you use this recipe with?

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    1. Thank you Diane - halibut is a wonderful choice for this recipe - hope that helps.

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  14. Gorgeous photos, Andrea! My mother likes to put barley in her soups sometimes and I always enjoy it. I'll have to make the proper barley version for my parents some time.

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    1. Thank you, Teresa - barley is wonderful in soups and I think I will make some beef and barley soup this week.

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  15. First, Andrea, I didn't know there were two different kinds of pearl barley. My grocery store just had Pearl Barley. I thought that was it. I'll try Whole Foods next week and see if they offer choices. And, yes, on a cold Winter day, nothing beats Barley Soup. I was really intriqued by that fat piece of perch - looks delicious. Grandaughter Clara (8) arrives in three days. I have the roasted peanuts on the premises and will make your cookies Monday or Tuesday. Am also going to make your Biscoff cookies - have the ingredients but just wanted an occasion to make them. The Queen is a rock star, right. May we be as "in the moment" as she appears to be, at her age. I do wish she'd smile a bit more. Emma and Clara watched fencing today. They were really intriqued. I love the Olympics!

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    1. Mary, I must agree with you there "The Queen is rock star!" - and the Olympics are just wonderful and there is no escaping the live coverage on TV anywhere.

      So nice that Clara will arrive soon - she is certain to love baking cookies with you. Do let me know how they will turn out!

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  16. your whole meal looks great!!! :)

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    1. Thank you, Alice! Congratulations also again on the "new"cook" in your family!

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  17. My grandma used to eat barley instead of white rice as a healthy choice. I just didn't understand why it was delicious back then (I was still small). However this looks delicious and I'd love to try this.

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    1. Nami, thank you - the whole family really loves barley and it is indeed a very versatile ingredient.

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  18. Oh my, your lunch looks just lovely! The perch looks really good, I love the combination of tomatoes and fennel! We liked the barley and I will probably make it again, it is a versatile side dish!

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    1. Thank you, Erin - tomatoes go so well with fennel and I cannot believe that the kids all love it but they do.

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  19. Beautiful pictures for sure! I love that you paired your pilaf with a light white fish. It seems like a perfect combination.

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    1. Thank you - barley pilaf is delicious with fish and such a nice, light choice at this time of year!

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  20. The fish looks really good and so does the pilaf. Your flowers are stunning.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia - we loved this combo on a warm summer´s day.

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