Portobello Mushrooms w/Pearl Barley & Preserved LemonI’ll always return to portobello mushrooms, for their rewarding size and meatiness. And they’re forgiving, too -- you can’t really mess them up. Here’s an Ottolenghi recipe (again!) that assumes you have a jar of preserved lemons in your fridge (well, don’t you?).

Portobello Mushrooms with Pearl Barley and Preserved Lemons
Ottolenghi the Cookbook

3.5 oz. unsalted butter
15 sprigs thyme
6 large Portobello mushrooms
6.13 oz. dry white wine
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
coarse salt

Pearl Barley:
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3.88 oz. pearl barley
1 quarter of preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin finely chopped
1.75 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tsp. thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. purple sprouts, shredded
1 Tbsp. olive oil

First cook the barley. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir in the barley, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take a large baking tray and grease it heavily with two-thirds of the butter. Scatter the sprigs of thyme over it and place the mushrooms on top, stem side up. Pour over the wine and stock and scatter the sliced garlic on top. Dot each mushroom with a couple of knobs of the remaining butter, then season with salt and pepper. Cover the tray with foil and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

When the barley is done, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the preserved lemon, feta, parsley, and thyme. Taste and add salt and pepper. To serve, reheat the mushrooms in the oven for a few minutes, if necessary. Place each mushroom on a serving plate, stem-side up. Scoop the barley on top and spoon some of the mushroom cooking juices over. Garnish with the sprouts and drizzle over the olive oil.

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Cook your barley in the background, while you roast the mushrooms. You’ll grease your baking tray with more than 4 Tbsp. butter, then sit the mushrooms atop all those thyme sprigs. Neat.

The barley cooks creamy, as usual, and is further enhanced by the feta. The mushrooms are tender and lubricated after roasting in all that butter. The final scattering of micro sprouts is a darling move. These big stuffed mushrooms are almost rich.

Cucumber and Poppy Seed SaladNow let’s not stop here. Go back to where your barley is simmering and your mushrooms are roasting. What you can do with this pocket of time is prep the “Cucumber and Poppy Seed Salad,” also from Ottolenghi the Cookbook.

How satisfying this is to pull together. Indeed “sharp and sweet,” the crisp cucumbers are a delight. And poppy seeds! Always festive and tasty.

Portobello Mushrooms (6 large) = $8.71
Onion (1) = .33¢
Barley (3.88 oz.) = .32¢
Small Persian Cucumbers (18.72 oz.) = $2.13
Cayenne Chili Pepper = .44¢

PREP TIMES: roast mushrooms for 20 minutes and prep cucumber salad, while barley simmers for an hour
TASTES: creamy barley and feta enrich buttery portobellos; sharp, sweet, crisp cucumbers

Next time, I want to make the “Pork and Sweetcorn Chowder,” from the August 2017 issue of Delicious. That’s right: another British recipe. Come back to my site next week, to enjoy this one with me.