As the Ottolenghi craze is sweeping the world, here is one of his classic tried and tested recipes, it has become a favourite: Portobello Mushrooms with Pearled Barley and Preserved Lemon. If you can get your hands on local, fresh portobellos it will be even better. This recipe will serve three generously, and six as a side or a start.
What you need:
· Half a cup of pearled barley.
· A finely chopped onion.
· Some coarse sea salt and a bit of freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
· Four cups of stock: veg or chicken
· One quarter of a preserved lemon with the flesh removed and the skin finely chopped
· A tablespoon sunflower oil
· Two teaspoons thyme leaves
· Two tablespoons purple basil sprouts, radish sprouts or purple basil leaves, shredded
· One tablespoon olive oil
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper
· Seven tablespoons unsalted butter
· About two ounces feta cheese. Use your fingers to crumble it.
· Fifteen sprigs thyme
· Six large portobello mushrooms
· One cup of dry white wine
· Three finely sliced cloves of garlic
· A tablespoon of chopped flat-leaf parsley
What to do:
· The first thing to do is cook the barley, so heat the sunflower oil in a heavy saucepan and sautée the onion and garlic until translucent.
· Add three cups of your stock, whichever you're using (water can also be subbed in, in a pinch), and bring it to a boil. Stir in the barley and then lower the heat to a simmer.
· Simmer for forty-five minutes to an hour, until the barley is cooked.
· In the meantime, do the mushrooms. You'll need to pre heat your oven to about 180 degrees celsius first.
· Grease a large piece of baking paper with two thirds of the butter. Scatter the sprigs of thyme all over the sheet. Stem the mushrooms and place the caps, stem side up, on top of the thyme. Pour the wine and remaining cup of stock over and then scatter the sliced garlic.
· Use the remaining butter to smear generously over the mushrooms, roughly, then season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and put it in the hot oven for twenty minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
· Leave them on the tray until ready to serve.
· Once the barley is cooked, remove it from the pan and stir the preserved lemon through it, along with the feta, parsley, and thyme. Add as much salt and pepper as you like.
· Place the mushrooms on a plate and scoop the barley over, and then pour the cooking juices over.
· Drizzle with olive oil
Danielle McAnn is a copywriter working with TLC where each meal is a healthier, nutritious and mouthwatering solution for when you simply haven't got the time or means to cook. When Danielle's not writing content, she enjoys swimming, shopping and taking her Golden Retriever for a walk.