Pearl Barley Salad

imageOften make a version of a grain salad to brown-bag for work; the ingredients vary depending on what is hiding in the cupboard. In this case, the salad started off a little like pearl barley tabbouleh but finished more like Cypriot grain salad, using up the celery, currants, capers and pinenuts left over from the cauliflower pasta from earlier in the week. Dice a small red onion and steep in the juice of a lemon in the bottom of a large serving bowl while you toast a cup of pearl barley in a small saucepan. Once the grains are lightly browned and smelling toasty, cover with 3 cups boiling water and simmer until al dente (about 20 minutes). Drain and cool barley, while you rinse and drain 2 tablespoons of capers and add to the onion along with a large handful of currants. Heat a handful of pinenuts in half a cup of olive oil over low heat, stirring constantly until nuts are evenly browned. Add barley to the salad bowl, along with the oil and pinenuts. Lastly, finely slice the heart of a bunch of celery, including the fine, pale leaves growing between the stalks, and add to the salad. Toss and serve.

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