Second to the olive bar, the bulk section is my favorite part of the grocery. How great is it that you can buy only as much as you need for a specific recipe? I was on a barley kick in bulk until one time when I flipped the handle and ended up with triple the amount I needed. After months of barley, barley, barley, I took a much-needed break.
Now I’m back to barley. Yesterday I made spring veggie paella subbing out traditional Spanish Bomba rice for whole-grain barley. Of course I had to use asparagus and peas for vegetables along with pimientos, which are cherry peppers with mild heat. It turned out to be a filling veggie main, and I have plenty of leftovers for lunch this week.
Spring Veggie Paella
Adapted from Food & Wine May 2014
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped pimientos (one 4-ounce jar, drained)
1 tomato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups barley
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley plus more for serving
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 6-1/2 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pimientos, tomatoes and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the salt, turmeric, barley, stock, water and parsley and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 7 minutes. Add the asparagus, peas, artichokes and beans and continue cooking until the barley is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.