One of the best ways to maximize the earthy qualities of a mushroom is to cook it with something similarly earthy. Ancient grains like barley, farro, and wheat berries, or even brown rice provide plenty of earthy notes on their own. But with a little heat and time, these grains undergo a unique transformation: They become toasty, nutty, and take on flavors reminiscent of caramel and even umami-rich soy sauce. Here we take advantage of this idea by roasting portobello mushrooms in toasted, hulless barley grains. Wrapping the mushrooms creates steam while roasting, concentrating the barley flavors while keeping the mushrooms tender and juicy. After roasting, we blend some of the barley to create a rich, nutty sauce that gets a little extra boost from miso. We cook the rest of the roasted barley and incorporate it into a fresh fennel salad to serve along with the mushrooms. This is a complex, deeply savory mushroom dish that highlights what is possible with relatively few ingredients. Be sure to use hulless barley, as opposed to unhulled or pearled barley. For best results, use a high-powered blender in step 3.
Barley Roasted Portobello and Fennel Salad
- 1 cup (7 ounces) hulless barley, toasted
- 4 (4- to 6-ounce) portobello mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 bulb fennel, sliced thin, fronds reserved
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus extra for serving
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Spread barley on parchment in even layer. Brush mushrooms with 1 tablespoon oil and season on both sides with salt. Place mushrooms, stem-side down on barley. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil, crimping edges to seal. Roast mushrooms until fragrant and tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove foil and let mushrooms cool until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer mushrooms to cutting board, cleaning any barley from gills. Cut mushrooms into ½-inch slices and set aside. Add 1/2 cup roasted barley to pot along with 3 cups water. Bring barley to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until barley is just tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain barley and set aside.
- Meanwhile, transfer remaining 1/2 cup roasted barley to blender jar and blend on high speed until barley resembles coarse powder, about 2 minutes. With blender running, pour remaining 3/4 cup vegetable oil in steady stream and blend until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes longer. Add miso and blend until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds. Strain barley oil through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, stirring solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Whisk in lemon juice until smooth and combined and set aside.
- To Serve: Combine fennel, cooked barley, and 2 tablespoons barley sauce in bowl and toss to coat evenly. Pour remaining barley sauce on large serving platter. Place fennel salad on top and drizzle with lemon juice to taste. Arrange mushrooms on fennel and drizzle with any remaining sauce. Sprinkle with fennel fronds and serve.
Nutrition facts:4 534 calories 6 grams of protein 39 grams of carbohydrates 7 grams of fiber 3 grams of sugar 497 milligrams of sodium 294 milligrams of potassium 47 grams of fat ( 7 grams of saturated fat 10 grams of monounsaturated fat 29 grams of polyunsaturated fat )
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