Eastside Road, November 13, 2011—HULLED BARLEY with Brown Butter and Scallions, is what you see over there on the left; a recipe Lindsey clipped from the paper three years ago and has served before — a Marion Cunningham recipe, so it's double a favorite.
When I was a boy we bought rolled barley in 75-pound sacks. It looked very much like rolled oats, the sort you used to cook for oatmeal — Quaker Oats. It has quite a different taste and texture. We bought it for the pigs; it was my job to dump the barley into a big vat into which we also poured the surplus skim milk. (We sold the cream.) I never tasted the result, which we always referred to as "pig slop," but I did eat the occasional handful of barley, and always rather liked it.
Pearl barley goes into various soups. Beef and barley soup is a favorite of mine. But this is made with whole-grain barley, which also goes into our old dependable Bog-Man Cereal. Tonight's recipe makes a sort of barley pilaf, and the lightly browned butter gives it a nutty flavor that nicely complements the chopped scallions, which aren't cooked at all except by the retained heat of the barley, into which they're dumped — like barley into pig slop — just before serving. Delicious.
Before the barley, as a first course, we had the very last, I'm sure of it this time, of Nancy Skall's lima beans, for this year I mean; I'm sure they'll be back in the market next year. Some pods have two or three rather huge beans inside, some only a couple of tiny ones, barely big enough to notice. They all cook together, so there's a nice range of textures. Even the big ones are delicate and tender. I'll miss them, these next few months…
Rosso da Monferrato, Tenuta la Pergola, 2009