Sweet, smoky, earthy and light. This little barley and beet recipe has spring dinners outside written all over it. Ann Taylor Pittman, a top editor for Cooking Light Magazine has written an entire cookbook on grains of every kind and we’re all over it. Everyday Whole Grains is a treasure trove of healthy, entertaining-worthy recipes like this one. A few simple ingredients, one masterful kitchen skill and you’re all set…
The Cooking Light Test Kitchen perfected a stovetop smoking technique (which works on gas and electric stovetops) that has changed my life. I now keep wood chips and disposable aluminum foil pans on hand because you never know when you might want to smoke something… like barley! A sweet vinaigrette, earthy beets and the bright citrus twang of grapefruit balance the robust smoky hit of the grains for a truly memorable salad. You can certainly make the salad without smoking the barley – just reduce the amount of honey to suit the milder flavor.
Smoked Barley, Beet + Grapefruit Salad
Serves 4 (about 1 cup per serving)
1⁄3 cup cherry or apple wood chips
1 cup cooked, hulled barley
3 medium beets with greens
2 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large pink or ruby red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
Pierce 10 holes on one side of the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch disposable aluminum foil pan. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange wood chips over holes inside pan. Spread barley onto opposite side of pan. Place hole side of pan over stovetop burner. Turn burner on high. When wood chips start to smoke, carefully cover pan with foil. Reduce heat to low; smoke 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat; carefully uncover. Rinse and drain barley under cold water; drain well.
Trim beets, reserving greens. Remove tough stems from beet greens; tear greens to equal 3 cups and set aside. Wrap beets together in a large piece of microwave-safe parchment paper. Microwave on high, 8 to 9 minutes or until tender; unwrap and cool slightly. Remove skins from beets; cut each beet into 8 wedges. Place beet wedges in a small bowl.
Combine oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle 1½ teaspoons vinaigrette over beet wedges; toss to coat. Add barley and beet greens to bowl with remaining vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Arrange barley mixture in a serving bowl; top with beets and grapefruit.