I am Mediterranean through and through. Despite having lived most of my life in northern climates, I seem to revive when the sun comes out. I am not talking about my old bones, I am talking about my soul and spirit, being in harmony with warmth and light.
On hot summer days, I do not yearn for sauce-based dishes, or slow cooked meals but instead, I go for fresh tasting salads, and more than often, I chose grains and pulses as a base.
There are no set rules to salads like these; they are the natural result of available produce.
I play around with ingredients, grill lettuce hearts to give them a roasted flavor and use lemon, olive oil and sumac to bring the Mediterranean into my plate.
- 30 ml/ 1 oz. lemon juice
- 60 ml / 2 oz. Extra virgin olive oil
- 270g / 9.6 oz. barley
- 2 lettuce hearts
- 10 radishes
- 10 quails egg
- Fresh mint leaves
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- Sea salt
- Place barley in a deep pan, cover with plenty of water, add 1 teaspoon sea salt and bring to the boil; reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Place the quail’s eggs in another pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Strain, run under cold water for 30 seconds, and drain. Place the eggs back in the pan, cover and shake them to break the shells. Delicately peel off the shells, put them in a container and leave them in the fridge until ready to use.
- Trim 2 cos lettuce, keep the hearts and save the leaves to use in another salad. Place the lettuce heart cut side down on a hot grill for 3 minutes turn and cook for another minute on the other side. Transfer to a plate, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Slice the radishes and set aside.
- Place the lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper and salt in a small jar, screw the lid on, and shake to mix.
- Strain the barley when it is soft but not mushy. Dress with 2/3 of the lemon and oil dressing.
- Cut the eggs in half.
- Arrange the barley in a flat serving dish, scatter the radish rounds and the mint leaves on top.
- Place the lettuce and egg halves over the barley salad, drizzle the remaining dressing, sprinkle with sumac and serve.