3 cups water
1 cup pearl barley
1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
2 avocados peeled seeded and diced
1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves stems removed
2 Serrano or Jalapeno chile peppers
2 Tbl Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
1. In a large saucepan with a lid, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add the pearl barley. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and let cool. Stir in the tomatoes, avocado and pine nuts.
2. Preheat a grill to medium high heat.* Place the peppers directly on the grill rack and grill, turning occasionally until all sides are evenly blackened and charred. Place peppers in a small paper bag for 5-10 minutes and close to let them steam (this will make removing the skins much easier). Remove the peppers from the paper bag and carefully peel off and discard the skins (you may want to wear rubber gloves). Slice each pepper in half and remove and discard any seeds or membranes.
3. In a small food processor or blender combine the basil, roasted Serrano peppers, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and agave nectar. With the motor on the food processor running pour in the extra virgin olive oil and process until well combined. Pour vinaigrette over the barley salad and stir gently to combine. Garnish if desired with fresh basil leaves.
~ For a lovely optional presentation hollow out several red green or yellow peppers and fill each with a portion of the salad and garnish with the fresh basil leaves.
*You may roast the peppers under the broiler in your oven
Thanks to Veronica Callaghan