Barley. Those weird little grains most famously known for their presence in things like Beef Barley soup but then never seem to appear much in other recipes. A few years ago I tried to cook a new 'unknown' grain every week and barley seemed to come up a lot in recipes. Like a lot of grains barley is high fiber and high protein and packs in a lot of nutrients in it's small size. Pearl barley is a commonly sold form and it actually cooks faster than most rice.
Cooked, Barley has a chewy and almost nutty flavor which works really well with the flavors in today's recipe.
1 Cup Pearl Barley
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 TBS White Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 TBS Lemon Zest
1/4 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
Preheat the oven to 425. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add barley. Let simmer on med-low heat for about 10 minutes or until barley is chewy yet soft. Let Stand.
Toss cut green beans with chopped nuts and about 2 TBSP Olive Oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 10 minutes until green beans are crisp-tender.
Heat 1 TBSP Oil in skillet and saute onions and garlic until translucent. Add White Wine Vinegar and black beans and saute for about 1-2 more minutes. Add this to the cooked barley, and toss with lemon zest and parsley. Top with nut/green bean mixture.
This is a nice dinner side or light summer meal. Great as leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!