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Farm Fresh: Corn adds crunch to light barley salad

Thursday, August 30, 2001

By Betsy Kline, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Why sweat hot suppers in an even hotter August?

Sometimes a cool salad is just the ticket; something not too filling and light on the palate.

Not all salads are green affairs of lettuce. If you've had your fill of rabbit food, try this Barley Corn Confetti Salad. It has the wonderful toothsome chew of grain and the satisfying crunch of tiny chunks of vegetable, sweetened by fresh corn and the perky tang of Umeboshi vinegar. We had never heard of this Japanese plum vinegar before, but after tasting it, we'll be using it a lot.

If you don't want to use the Umeboshi, red wine vinegar will make a good substitute. Pearl barley will give you a different texture, but avoid quick-cooking barley, because it will be too mushy.

It takes about an hour to cook the unpearled barley, so try to do it earlier in the day when you can step out of the steamy kitchen. Microwave (3 to 4 minutes on high for two ears wrapped in a single layer of husk) or boil the corn. Mix all your ingredients and then allow the finished salad to sit in the refrigerator where the flavors can meld.

PG tested

1 cup unpearled barley, rinsed
6 cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups cooked corn (about 3 to 4 whole ears)
1/2 cup minced scallion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Umeboshi (plum) vinegar

Place barley and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 1 hour or until barley softens. Drain well and cool. (We used a large sieve.)

Mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss with barley. Refrigerate for 1 hour or more and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Shopping notes: Unpearled barley can be found in specialty markets or natural food stores. Likewise the Umeboshi vinegar. We found unpearled barley in the bulk food bins at the East End Food Co-op in Point Breeze. It was there we also found a variety of inexpensive plum vinegars.

"The Heart of Pittsburgh" by the Sacred Heart Elementary School Parent Teacher Guild

If you have a fruit or vegetable that you would like to see featured, please call food editor Suzanne Martinson at 412-263-1760 or e-mail us at aburnett@post-gazette.com or bkline@post-gazette.com We're also looking for easy-to-make, quick recipes that highlight the fabulous flavors of fresh produce. Send to Farm Fresh, PG Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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