This recipe is inspired by one I found in the excellent cookbook, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook: 75 Wholesome Recipes Worth Sharing, by Quelcy Kogel. Although our family eats all the food groups in moderation, and we are not anything "free", I always love finding downright delicious meals that are nutrient packed, fresh, and preferably simple. Any meal that we can toss together in under 30 min is a gem, and this one is perfect for summer.
It is both creamy and comforting while being light and refreshingly crisp, and the puree can be served hot, or at room temperature weather depending. It's also lovely for summer entertaining in that the salsa and puree can be made the day ahead. Simply bring the puree to room temp or heat up, and then right before serving, sear up the protein of choice (see below) and you're done.
One of my husband's favorite proteins are scallops, and they are absolutely delicious here, yet chicken, mushrooms (Hen of the Woods, Enoki, or Hon-shimeji are awesome vegetarian substitutes in that they have a similar lightness to scallops while still giving you texture and flavor without being overpowering) cod, or shrimp cooked similarly would also be good. If butter/dairy is not something you use, simply substitute avocado oil or coconut oil.
This recipe serves 4 generously
Barley Apple Salsa
1/4 red onion diced, or one shallot
1 jalapeno, seeded, and diced
1 cup cooked barley (or similar grain - millet, sorghum, or quinoa)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1large or 2 smaller apples, peeled and diced
2 limes, the zest of one lime, and the juice from both
salt to taste
Mix the above ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to allow the flavors to combine. As each jalapeno varies heat wise, you may want to start with 1/2 a seeded, diced pepper and then taste the salsa and adjust as you like. It's much easier to add in more heat than it is to undo it. I ended up using 3/4 of the pepper as ours was large and hot.
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small red onion
5 cloves garlic minced
3 cups shelled frozen edamame, thawed
1/4 cup stock or water
1 lemon, the zest and juice
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet heat the oil and add in the onion over medium until translucent, about 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic and edamame, cook for about 3-4 min, add in the 1/4 cup stock (if you have it on hand, if not water is just fine), the zest and juice of a lemon, butter, and the cilantro. Blitz in a blender or food processor until smooth and buttery. Taste and season with salt and pepper. This tastes delicious hot, warm, or at room temp if you are making it right before dinner, you'll be good to go. If does not taste lovely cold though. So if you're bringing this back to life from the ice box I recommend heating it up a bit just to soften the texture and bring the flavors back to life.
1 1/2 pounds of scallops (or chicken, mushrooms, eggplant or other white fish)
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to season
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks
5-6 sprigs of lemon thyme, if you have it, if not regular thyme
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Pat dry the add-in of choice, and season each side with salt and pepper. Heat oil in the pan and sear until golden brown on each side. Add in the butter, thyme, and lemon juice, cook until done. For scallops its no more than 2-3 min a side, for chicken though depending upon the cut and thickness it will be longer. If you are using mushrooms, you'll need a bit more liquid you may want to deglaze with 1/4 cup dry white wine, stock, or a splash of water.
To serve, spread the puree on the plate, sprinkle the salsa over the top, and then arrange your add-in to your liking. You'll certainly enjoy a glass of chilled white wine, or even prosecco with this!