Do any of you have a prejudice against some food? I know of some people who rather than say what they don’t eat can only state what they do! I despise fussy eaters… I’m not so bad as being Chinese, we are known to eat anything but I do have stuff I try to avoid and beetroot is one of those food that I am adverse to. As it is, I don’t have a sweet tooth and the fact that it stain your hands…. yeeee….
Anyway, saw this recipe on the Food Explorer booklet from Westfield London and was seduced by it’s vibrant colours. Thought it will work well when done at Chez Boom’s seeing the lighting at his place washes out all colours. Also curious as to how risotto made with pearl barley will taste like.
So the ingredients include (clockwise from left), ready to eat beetroot, fennel bulb, an apple, salmon fillet and pearl barley. Not included in the lineup shot are black olives and fish stock. Decided to add some leftover black olives which Boom have hanging around from previous day’s dinner thinking the black will contrast nicely with the red risotto. A copy of the recipe is also available here.
So you boil the barley in the stock till tender and all the liquid has been absorbed then you added in the pulverised beetroot. The barley took close to an hours to be ready which is a tad long but good as unlike risotto made with arborio rice, you don’t have to stay and stir.
About 10 mins before the risotto is done, stick the salmon fillet into a preheated oven. Instead of thyme, I topped the salmon with stem of the fennel bulb crushed with some salt and pepper. Waste not want not!
The fennel and apple salad was straight forward, I pimped it with sesame seeds, sesame oil and chili flakes for an Asian touch. Worked out pretty well, good contrast with the rich risotto.
Viola! Have to say this was a great success, the pearl barley was smooth and creamy yet still retained a bit of bite. The beetroot gave a slight sweetness and also thickened the risotto. The addition of black olives apart from bringing more colour, also countered the sweetness of the beetroot while the fennel and apple salad gave the dish a refreshing edge.
Will definitely try other risotto versions with pearl barley in future!
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