I feel like we are in the home stretch of summer. September is only a week away (how is that possible!?) and while it might seem like the corn, tomatoes and zucchini will go on forever, they will soon begin to fade from the farmer's market making way for winter squash and pumpkins.
I know this. It happens every year. And yet, I often find myself at the end of the summer wishing I had done more with the produce that was available to me during this all to brief and fleeting season.
So maybe I should have named this Summer Harvest Barley Salad "No Regrets Salad" or something along those lines because that's exactly what it is...an opportunity to make something fabulous and fresh with what's available NOW:
- Fresh sweet corn
- Ripe garden tomatoes
- Tender zucchini
- Fragrant basil
All tossed with hearty pearl barley, a zippy vinaigrette and a handful of briny olives. This salad is not only delicious and easy, it's a way to stop time and capture the height of summer in a serving bowl, if only for a moment or two.
This Summer Harvest Barley Salad makes a fabulous lunch on it's own or maybe with a slice of Danish rye bread or crispbread on the side. It is also right at home next to a grilled chicken breast or sliced flank steak for dinner. Need something to take to an end-of-the-summer gathering? Yes! This salad is just the thing as it is delicious at room temperature and so stunning and seasonal piled high on a big platter.
So let's have no regrets this year. MAKE this salad. Rest easy knowing that you've taken full advantage of all that summer has to offer. In a few weeks we'll be talking about roasted squash and apples but for now, let this Summer Harvest Barley Salad be the star of the show. Need more hearty grain salad ideas? I've got a few delicious ones for you to try:
- Grilled Summer Squash Salad with Rye Berries and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
- Warm Barley Salad with Fresh Garden Herbs
- Springtime Barley Salad with Asparagus, Red Pepper and Spinach
- Golden Beets with Arugula, Lightly Pickled Shallots, Rye Berries and Herbed Skyr Sauce
Summer Harvest Barley Salad with Corn, Zucchini and Tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked pearl barley see note below
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 12 ounces zucchini cut into ½ inch dice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 3 ears of fresh corn shucked and cut off of the cob (see note below)
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 ripe garden or farm stand tomatoes cored and cut into a ½ inch dice
- ½ cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil plus more for garnish if desired.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini and saute until it is spotty brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add corn and continue to cook until vegetables are just tender, about 2-3 more minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, whisk white balsamic vinegar, remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the lemon juice together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss barley and zucchini mixture together in a large serving bowl. Gently fold in tomatoes, olives, basil and vinaigrette until everything is just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with additional basil if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.