The Fresser

Store cupboard, saviour salad

This delicious salad works as a weeknight supper or part of a buffet and can be made almost entirely from store cupboard staples. It's also really economical

May 26, 2017 14:55

I was asked to take a salad to a friend as part of a buffet spread. 

My food spend is ridiculous. It's my guilty pleasure but one I need to curb, so I decided I would make one from only my bulging larder of ingredients. 

A bag of barley caught my eye, so I boiled it up for the base. To the cooking water, I added a cup of peach juice. I had a bottle in my fridge - bought for Bellinis on Mr F's birthday but never consumed. You could substitute orange juice if you prefer, or just some powdered stock to the cooking water. 

Next up were pistachios and pecans that sit in my fridge. I store all nuts in there as it stops them going rancid. They were toasted in the oven until smelling fragrant.  

From the fridge - oranges; bought when I was eating a lot of citrus for breakfast (over Pesach) and left unloved when I moved back to porridge. They were segmented. I also finely sliced some mint. The cheffy term is 'chiffonade' which means to very finely slice. It stops the mint going too black. 

The dressing - borrowed from Ottolenghi's first book - combines fresh ginger (another long term guest in my fridge), cinnamon, maple syrup, lemon juice, olive oil and sherry vinegar. (I have all vinegars ready to go at any moment.)  It's my favourite dressing but a little bit more work than a drizzle of extra virgin and splash of balsamic - my usual dressing method. 

The whole lot is mixed up in a bowl and scatter with more fresh mint and blobs of soft white goat's cheese - the only ingredient I needed to purchase. It was a huge success and I'm feeling smug at my admirable housekeeping skills.

Here's the recipe. Enjoy it with grilled or smoked fish or just as it comes. It would work as a packed lunch too.  This served at least 8 - 10 on a buffet and there was plenty over. As a main dish it would probably serve 4 - 6 - with a side salad or two.  

Pearl barley, orange and mint salad

200g pearl barley
600ml water or 360ml water plus 240ml peach or orange juice (optional)
3 large oranges, segmented
45g pistachio nuts, toasted
40g pecan nuts, toasted
100g soft goats cheese (without rind) or feta cheese, crumbled
handful of mint, finely shredded, plus some sprigs to garnish

for the dressing:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup maple syrup
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
sea salt and black pepper



  • Cook the barley in the water or water and juice according to the pack instructions. When al dente, drain and leave to cool.
  • Cut the oranges into segments and squeeze all the juice from the membranes. Drain the segments in a sieve, keeping the juice.
  • Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and mixing well. There should be more than sufficient juice from segmenting the oranges to use in the dressing.
  • While the barley is still warm, add the dressing. You will not need it all, so add, mix gently to coat all the grains and add more if needed. Season.  
  • When ready to serve, combine the oranges, nuts, mint and mix gently again. Add more dressing if it’s at all dry.
  • Put in a serving bowl and top with the crumbled cheese and mint sprigs. 
May 26, 2017 14:55

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive