I am in love with barley at the moment – a great wintery grain that also, strangely, has some cooling properties when used in the warmer months. Not only does it do well in soups, pilafs and vegetable stews, it is an accommodating base for salads.
Ilyse, the amazing artist from the no-longer-existing blog Lucullian Delights, had a wonderful barley and tofu salad for any season. I tweeked it just a little, and it is a perfect salad for summer or for winter.
You might like to browse other Barley recipes here. Our extensive list of wonderful Salads are here. You might like to see all of our Tofu recipes also. Or simply explore our easy Late Summer Recipes.
Mediterranean Barley with Crispy Tofu, Olives, Sundried Tomatoes and Capers
this recipe is very accommodating. Add the amounts of ingredients to suit your tastes.
cooked pearl barley, about a cup as a basis for a small salad, use 2 cups for a larger salad
firm tofu, cut into squares and dried with paper towel
vegetable oil for frying the tofu
small black olives
sun-dried tomatoes – if they are very dry, soak. Chop roughly.
Capers in salt, soaked and drained of their excess salt
Chilli flakes and/or chilli oil
1 small lemon or lime
extra-virgin olive oil
Shallow or deep fry the tofu in the oil until crispy on the outside. Drain well on paper towel, and then sprinkle with chilli flakes (or chilli powder), some finely grated lemon or lime rind, and a small squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
Mix olives, capers and tomatoes with the barley and stir. Stir in a little olive oil.
Add the tofu. Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding salt and more lemon or lime juice and chilli as needed. Mix, drizzle with chilli oil if using, and serve.
This is a recipe that can accommodate variations. I have also added red lentil sprouts, and some chopped nasturtium stems, for a peppery addition.
Rather than deep fry the tofu, pan fry very firm tofu in a little olive oil.