Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

Why hello. Long time, no see, my friend. I've been quite quiet over here, but that's mainly due to the fact that I don't have as much of a sweet tooth as I once had. In fact, the only times I bake these days are for special occasions. And instead of trying out a new recipe for someone's birthday/celebration/etc, I generally pick something tried and true.

So where does that leave South in Your Mouth? Well, as you can tell for over a year, it's left it silent. BUT, even though I'm not baking, I am cooking a LOT more and I figure that turning a once baking blog into a cooking blog isn't that much of a stretch.

So here we go. I realize, eventually I'll need to redo the header on the blog, etc. But for now, I'm just going to post a few recipes that I've really enjoyed of late.

This is a recipe that I've had for a long time. And I'm not really sure what took me so long to pull the trigger. The ingredient list does look quite long, but the ingredients are accessible and cheap and a lot of them I already have in my fridge/pantry on a weekly basis.

I'm sorry it's not brownies, but it's still pretty damn delicious.

Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
Originally from Epicurious.
Written below as I made it.

This is a light and tasty salad. I felt like it had a bit too much of a lemon kick and I definitely felt like the mint and flat leaf parsley were a bit overwhelming. So, I've scaled those things back a bit. It comes together pretty easily, even with the extensive ingredient list. It's light, but it's still hearty enough to make it a main meal with some baked tofu thrown in. I will definitely be making this again. Maybe even a fall version with some root vegetables in it.

  • 1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 10 oz of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
  • 1 (14-oz) can reduced-sodium vegetable broth (1 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 8 oz of baked tofu (I used Trader Joe's Savory Baked Tofu. SO GOOD!) 
Roast eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. 

Toss eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooling barley.

Cook barley:
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes. 

Make dressing and assemble salad:
Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well.
Cooks' note: Salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Return to room temperature before serving.