Monday, July 25, 2011

Repurposing Basil, Part IV (Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant & Barley Salad)

Another way I’ve been using basil lately is simply to substitute it for other herbs. In recipes like this one, the zing of the basil works well with the yummy roasted & earthy flavors. This started as an Epicurious recipe:

  • 1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice of a 2 lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion, optional
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped basil
  • Preheat oven to 425. Toss eggplant and zucchini with 2 tbsp. oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread in single layer in two shallow pans. Roast 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until veggies are turning golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer all vegetables to one pan to cool.

    Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute scallions, cumin, coriander, and cayenne for 1 minute. Add barley and saute for 2 minutes longer, until barley is well-covered in the mixture. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes and empty the barley into the now-empty baking pan to cool further.

    Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt & pepper to taste, and 1/2 tbsp. oil in a large serving bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients. Toss to coat. Serve at room temperature. (You can make it ahead and refrigerate it, but it really needs to be served at room temperature.)



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