Thursday, July 23, 2009

Corn, Tomato and Barley Salad

I love cycling. Louis and I used to go on long cycles every weekend. We would generally cycle a 30 mile loop from our place up to Tilden Park in Berkeley and back home along Skyline Blvd. We live in such a beautiful place, and the views are stunning from Skyline Blvd. which runs along the ridge of the East Bay hills.

Unfortunately we haven't cycled much in the last several years. Louis got pretty busy gigging on the weekends, and then Ella came along. We just got out of the habit. But I missed it. I feel a great sense of freedom when I'm on a bike. It is definitely my favorite form of exercise.

We got new bikes about a month ago and have been going on lots of rides. I've found that the best way to get Ella excited about being strapped into the trailer is to promise a picnic along the way.

So we cycled up to Robert's Park and had a picnic.

I made a variation of a salad that I make at least once a week. It contains some sort of grain, most often barley or quinoa, and a mix of whatever vegetables look good at the market. Sometimes I mix in some cheese, nuts or beans. This type of salad is endlessly versatile, and it keeps well which makes it an excellent choice for a picnic.

I've become quite addicted to these salads. Barley has a lovely chewy texture that is totally satisfying. I tend to use quite a bit of vinegar because the barley absorbs a lot as it sits. So, if you aren't serving the salad right away, you should taste and adjust the seasoning again before serving.

Corn, Tomato and Barley Salad

2 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob
1 zucchini cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 cup of farro or barley (whole grain, not pearled)
1 shallot diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
handful of arugula

Combine the barley with 4 cups of water and salt to taste in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook at a bare simmer until just tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add the corn and zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened but still al dente, about 5 minutes. Add the diced shallot and sliced cherry tomatoes. Turn off the heat, add about 2 teaspoons of vinegar and taste for salt. Add the vegetables to a bowl with the barley. Toss in a handful of arugula or torn basil leaves. Taste again for balance of salt and vinegar.

Serves 4


  1. Yay picnics!

    That salad sounds like deliciousness.

  2. I am as enchanted by the bikes and the countryside as I am by the salad - makes me want to get on my bike.
    nice recipe as always, noted for a picnic day.

  3. Vic, yes picnic! Let's make a plan!!

    Rachel, indeed, we have some lovely countryside. But I imagine you do as well, outside of the city! I would think that riding a bike in Rome would be like playing russian roulette...