Show of hands, who is ready for Spring?
Not knocking winter- it had it's good times: Christmas in the District, 'snow' days, my first trip to NYC (more on that soon!) also, grapefruit I love you. As in love, love, love. But it's time to clean house, pack those hearty braises and root vegetables away (in a dark, breathable suitcase, of course) to use another year, and revel in green, growing things.
I don't know about you, but when a new season rolls around I get a little giddy. The giddiness hit a nearly uncontrollable spike when I discovered a container of gorgeous pea shoots on my last trip to the produce aisle. They called my name and promised to make all my dreams come true, so I happily tucked them into my basket and took them home.
They made good on their promise, I can assure you.
Enter the Spring Clean Bowl.
The barley salad is light and refreshing- a step away from its typical supporting role alongside broth and mushrooms; wonderful on its own, but really sings layered with fresh, sprouted greens and a bit of ricotta cheese.
Sticking with the green and white palette here is delicious, but this recipe, along with most of what we do in our kitchen, is made for innovation. Badge gives two thumbs up to tossing in a little grilled chicken and crumbled, crispy bacon, and I can appreciate that.
For myself, after one of those what-do-we-have-in-the-fridge’, bit-of-this-and-that dinners, strongly encourage you to try adding a slice or two of baked sweet potato. It’s a creamy, dreamy splash of sunshine you won't regret.
Spring Clean Bowl With Barley Salad
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked barley,cooled
1 English cucumber, sliced and cut into half-moons
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
1 Tbs. fine shredded parmesan
1-2 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, mint, chives, etc.
1 cup loosely packed alfalfa sprouts
3 cups loosely packed pea shoots
½ cup part skim ricotta
½ ripe avocado, sliced
In a medium bowl whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add the barley, cucumbers, peas, Parmesan, and herbs and toss to evenly coat.
Divide the sprouts and pea shoots evenly among four bowls. Spoon the barley salad over the greens, adding a spoonful of ricotta and a few slices of avocado. Garnish with fresh herbs or a bit of freshly ground pepper. Enjoy! Serves 4.