I have recently started working at the gorgeous Anderson & Co in Peckham from Wednesday to Friday cooking breakfasts and lunches. The cafe opened nearly 2 years ago and have graced our local high street with excellent coffee and homemade food and cakes. The best thing about having a new job is all the new people to cook for. I have had a lovely freedom to experiment since starting and I hope to share a few of the recipes we have been serving up to our lovely customers.
This one had been brewing in my mind for a while as I absolutely adore pearl barley and its nubby, nutty little bite. I wanted to create a salad that was a substantial meal and contained enough variety in each bite to keep you interested. I find that a salad is often so samey, every bite the same combination. A great salad, awakens your tastebuds with texture, variety and flavour.
There are several elements to this salad to give it it’s zingy fresh mix of pimento, sweet squash and fresh mint but one of the main flavours comes from the marinaded peppers. These are equally good just on their own and keep excellently in the fridge. Make a big batch and serve them on pizza or as antipasti. Make these first, and roast the butternut squash for the salad at the same time.
6 Red cap peppers
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1/3 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
Brush a baking sheet with a little oil and turn the oven on high (Gas 6, 200 degrees)
While the oven is pre-heating, cut your peppers in half and remove the stalk and seeds.
Place the peppers face down, skin side up on the baking tray.
Put them in the hot oven until the skins are starting to blacken and the flesh shrink. About 30-40 minutes.
When they are ready take them out of the oven and move them from the baking tray to either a plastic bag or a bowl that you can cover with clingfilm. This makes the peppers sweat and after 15 minutes they will be cool enough to handle and the skins will peel off easily. Retain all the liquid they will have seeped out.
Once they are all peeled put the peppers and their lovely juices in a jar or bowl and add the vinegar, paprika and olive oil and mix.
Now your peppers are made we can get on with the salad…
Pearl Barley and Puy Lentil Salad
250g pearl barley
150g puy lentils
1/2 a butternut squash, cut into cubes about 2cm
A small handful of marinaded peppers torn into strips (and a few tablespoons of their juices if you can spare them)
1 large red onion, sliced into very thin rounds or strips
4 chorizo sausages
a large handful of parsley, chopped
a large handful of mint, chopped
A few spoons of yoghurt to serve, with extra mint stirred through if you fancy
First roast your butternut squash on a big tray with a slosh of olive oil and some salt and pepper for about 40 minutes at gas 6 or 200degrees
Cook the pearl barley and puy lentils in separate pans of deep salted water for the required amount of time (barley about 30-40 mins, lentils a little less). Both behave very well and need no pre-soaking or faffing.
Fry your chorizo in a pan until it’s sticky on the outside and has released it’s fiery red oil. Slice the chorizo into bite sized pieces.
When the lentils and barley are cooked, drain and while still warm, toss with the thinly sliced onions and a couple of tablespoons of the chorizo oil. When it has cooled add the butternut, chorizo, peppers and herbs and serve either slightly warm or at room temperature. It goes beautifully with a simple green salad on the side and a dollop of mint spiked yoghurt on top.