- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup barley, regular or quick-cooking
- 8 ounces smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered, about 2 cups
- 1 large rib celery, diced, about 1 cup
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup frozen thawed tiny peas
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- l/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- freshly ground pepper to taste
1. For the salad, bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Stir in the barley and bring to a boil again. Cover, then simmer barley until tender, about 45 to 50 minutes for regular barley, about 10 minutes for quick-cooking barley. Drain off any excess liquid.
2. Cook the sausage in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat about 6 minutes, until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to paper towels. Blot any excess fat. Place in a large bowl along with the remaining salad ingredients.
3. For the vinaigrette, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss well. The salad can be served immediately or covered airtight and refrigerated overnight.
4. The salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled in a serving bowl. To serve chilled, toss well; adjust the seasoning, mustard, and vinegar. To serve warm, gently reheat in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes or in the microwave oven on medium power (50 percent) until just warm, not hot, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
Barley, like many grains, takes a long time to cook (although quick-cooking barley, which has an appealing texture, takes only 10 minutes) and freezes well. Keep cooked barley on hand in the freezer to add to salads, soups, casseroles, and side dishes.
from Celebrating the Midwestern Table
Yield: about 4 1/2 cups, 4 main-course servings