Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Barley Legal

Barlotto is a cheeky rendition of the Italian classic, risotto. Risotto is typically made w/ arborio rice; a short grain rice favored for its high starch content. Barlotto is -- you guessed it -- made w/ barley; pearled barley for best results.  Grains aside, the techniques are nearly identical -- sauté aromatics, add the starch, ladle in hot stock, and slow simmer until al dente.

The addition of oyster mushrooms gives this dish a mellow earthy feel.  Once you get the technique down, experiment w/ different flavors -- think beets, orange & chard.

Mushroom Barlotto

1 cup pearl barley, soaked overnight & drained
2 cups oyster mushroom, chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. in a small sauce pot, bring stock to a boil; reduce to a simmer and maintain a scolding temperature.  
  2. in a 10-inch sauté pan w/ straight sides, sauté mushrooms in some canola over high heat until the moisture gives out; 4-6 minutes.  lower the heat, add a splash of butter or olive oil, and then add the minced shallots and garlic.  sauté until fragrant; 1-2 minutes. add the drained barley and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  frequent stirring will prevent the barley from sticking to the pan.  
  3. start adding ladles of hot stock to the barley mixture, 4oz at a time.  the barley should be *just* covered by the stock.  maintain a slow simmer, stirring frequently, until about 80% of the stock has been absorbed.  repeat this process w/ the remaining stock -- the end result should yield al dente barley, suspended in a creamy liquid; about 30 minutes.   
  4. add the herbs and grated cheese.  if necessary, thin w/ any leftover stock or a bit of hot water.  i make it a point to leave the barlotto/risotto mixture a bit loose in the pot, as it firms up when plated.  
© 2011 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" - http://www.missioninsatiable.com