this week in our kitchen: herby barley salad with mushrooms

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“Mushrooms were the roses in the garden of that unseen world, because the real mushroom plant was underground. The parts you could see – what most people called a mushroom – was just a brief apparition. A cloud flower.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood

True to its name, this salad was an herby treat! While I wish we would have been able to find a larger variety of mushrooms, we made it work with we had access to. And, while the entire dish was a delicious treat, I think my favorite part may have been the fried shallots. YUM.

Also, while you might be appalled by the amount of butter this recipe calls for, I promise the abundance of herbs really lightens it up. The combination of flavors and textures is one of my favorites and will certainly make this recipe one that we repeat.

Tip: If you don’t have an hour to spare on cooking barley, you can always prepare it the night before and store chilled overnight in an airtight container.



Adapted from
Total time: 90 – 120 minutes / Serves 8

The What

  • 1 cup hulled, hull-less, or pearl barley
  • Salt
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (such as maitake, chanterelle, and/or oyster), torn or cut into large pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ ounces Parmesan, shaved, plus more for serving

The How

  1. Cook barley in a medium pot of boiling salted water until tender, 50–60 minutes for hulled or hull-less, 20–30 minutes for pearl. Drain; spread out on a baking sheet and let cool. (Barley can be cooked 1 day ahead. Let cool; store airtight and chill.)
  2. Meanwhile, cook shallots in vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling pan occasionally to keep shallots from burning, until golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Let cool. Set shallot cooking oil aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high until just beginning to smoke. Arrange mushrooms in skillet in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until undersides are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper, toss, and continue to cook, tossing often and reducing heat as needed to avoid scorching, until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes longer.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add thyme sprigs, garlic, and butter to skillet. Tip skillet toward you so butter pools at edge and use a spoon to baste mushrooms with foaming butter; cook until butter smells nutty. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a small bowl, leaving thyme and garlic behind.
  5. Toss cooled barley, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, 1½ oz. Parmesan, and 2 Tbsp. reserved shallot oil in a large bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms; toss again to combine.
  6. Just before serving, top with fried shallots and more shaved Parmesan.
  7. Enjoy!


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1 comments on “this week in our kitchen: herby barley salad with mushrooms”

  1. Pingback: week(s) reflection

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