When I made this I found it needed additional dressing than the recipe called for.
1½ cups pearl barley (do not substitute hulled barley or hull-less barley)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
⅓ cup golden raisins
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped coarse
3 ounces feta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (¾ cup)
6 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin
½ cup pomegranate seeds
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1. Cook barley according to package instructions, as brands may differ; or try ATK’s instructions: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add barley and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook until tender, 20 to 40 minutes. Drain barley, spread onto rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.
2. Whisk oil, molasses, cinnamon, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Add barley, raisins, cilantro, and pistachios and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread barley salad evenly on serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds in separate diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra oil and serve.
A little technique transforms a simple cucumber into something incredibly delectable. Two versions:
NYT Cooking Recipe:
About 2 pounds English, Greenhouse or Persian cucumbers (thinned skin is key). (About 8-10 mini cucumbers, 4 medium-size or 2 large greenhouse)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cucumbers
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus more for cucumbers (I skip this)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Small handful whole cilantro leaves, for garnish
2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Step 1. Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4 inches long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.
Step 2. On a work surface, place several cucumbers cut side down. Lay the blade of a large knife flat on top the cucumber and smash down lightly with your other hand. The skin will begin to crack, the flesh will break down and the seeds will separate. Break or slice the pieces diagonally into bite-size pieces, leaving the seeds behind.
Step 3. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with a big pinch of salt and a big pinch of sugar. Place a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the cucumbers to serve as a weight and place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain 15 to 30 minutes on the counter, or in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.
Step 4. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce.
When ready to serve, shake cucumbers well to drain off any remaining liquid and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with grapeseed or olive oil and toss. Add half the dressing, half the garlic and the red pepper flakes to taste, and toss. Keep adding dressing until cucumbers are well coated. Taste and add more pepper flakes and garlic if needed. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds.
Cooks Illustrated Recipe
2 English cucumbers
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (or substitute a mixture of 2 teaspoons balsamic and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegars)
1 teaspoon garlic, pressed or minced finely
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Step 1. Rinse and pat dry the cucumbers. Cut the ends and then cut them into thirds. Place in a ziplock bag. Gently pound or press the cucumbers just until they crack open into 3-4 spheres.
Step 2. Place the cucumbers into a colander. Break the pieces into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle 1.5 teaspoons salt over the cucumbers and let them sit and drain 15-30 minutes.
Step 3. Place the cucumbers into a bowl and discard juices.
Step 4. Mix the vinegar with the garlic and allow to marinate for 5-15 minutes.
Step 5. To the vinegar and garlic mixture, add the soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.
Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.