Nothing like the toasty goodness of sweet and salty brussels sprouts, oven roasted and served over barley with shaved grana padana and lemon. Jason’s been working all day repairing a wall in the kitchen that suffered greatly last rainy season and I’m trapped in the office doing a close reading of The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Leo Tolstoy. So a couple of things have been brewing here. Firstly, our appetites and secondly, the mound of paint brushes, spackle tubs, dust and plastic covering over my spices , silverware and dishes.
To squelch the first tide, I squeezed into the fridge, dug out of the vegetable drawer the first thing I could grab. Out came my little martian heads (that’s what I call them) and I grabbed a bag of barley from under the plastic (E.T. phone home). Into my mini rice-cooker from my dorm days at I-House went 1 cup of pearl barley (just enough for the two of us) and 2 cups cold water, turned that on and wriggled my way to the kitchen sink where I washed and trimmed the sprouts.
Using a glass Pyrex roasting dish, I tossed the little heads into the pan with 1/4 cup shaved almonds, 1/8 cup dried cranberries, about 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, Portuguese sea salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, 1 tbsp. brown sugar and half the juice of a juicy Meyer’s lemon. I’d already pre-heated my oven to 400° F so I just put the pan in the oven and set my timer for 35 minutes.
If you do this just the way I did, scattered and all, your barley should be done around the same time as your brussels sprouts. From here I just fluffed my barley with 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, served into 2 pasta dishes and set aside. Taking my sprouts out of the oven, I sprinkled a pinch of sea salt over them and dished them up over the barley. Topping all of this toasty goodness, I shaved my favorite Italian hard cheese, grana padano, over each dish.
This proved to be the perfect late afternoon, pick-me-up snack for the two of us. It’s full of nutrients and vitamins and the barley is a great way to keep my tummy from rumbling because it has to work hard to digest.
Jason is the first to admit to my girlfriend Laura, that he is a lucky man to have someone who cooks for him daily. That being said, I too must admit, that I am a very lucky woman to have such a handsome and loyal customer to cook for.