Author Notes: This salad was inspired by some beautiful locally grown purple heirloom barley. Barley's nutty flavor seemed to call out for walnuts and apples. Celery root served as a nice counterpoint to the apples, and bacon always seems like a good idea. After cooking the bacon, I experimented with deep frying sage leaf fronds in the rendered fat and it proved to make a delectable crunchy garnish. If you want a more substantial dinner salad, this is also very tasty with a poached egg on top, but then what salad isn’t? - Fairmount_market
Serves 4 large salads
- 1 cup hulled barley (purple if you can find it)
- 3 cups water
- 6 fronds of sage leaves (divide use)
- 1 lemon (divided use)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces
- 1 medium sized celery root
- 1 firm apple, such as a honey crisp
- 4 strips of bacon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 small head of lettuce or 4 big handfuls of salad greens
- Soak the barley overnight. The next day, drain and add 3 cups of fresh water, 2 fronds of sage leaves and a generous amount of salt. Use a vegetable peeler to make a long strip of lemon rind and add this to the pot. Bring the water to a simmer and cook gently, partially covered, over low heat until the barley is tender but still has a lot of bite, about 90 minutes. Adjust seasoning and discard the lemon rind and sage leaves. You can cook the barley ahead and reheat it before finishing the salad.
- Peel the celery root (reserve any celery leaves for your salad) and chop into about ¼ inch dice. Peel the apple and chop into about ½ inch dice.
- Heat a skillet big enough to cook the bacon. When it is warm, toast the walnut pieces until they are fragrant but be sure not to burn them. Reserve.
- Now cook the bacon until it is nice and crisp. Drain on paper towels.
- Over medium heat, submerge the remaining 4 sage fronds, stem side up, into the hot rendered bacon fat and let them cook for a minute. Rescue them out of the vat of oil by their stems, and let them recover from their adventure on the paper towels. They will crisp up into crunchy treats.
- Reserve 1 tsp of rendered bacon fat for your dressing, and pour off all but about 1 Tbsp of the fat from the pan. Over medium heat, add the diced celery root and sauté for a minute. Now add the diced apple and sauté for a minute longer. You want these to be flavored by the bacon fat but still have some crunch. Transfer the sautéed celery root and apple to a large bowl. Stir in the warm barley and the toasted walnuts. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Mix up a dressing for your lettuce by combining juice from one lemon, mustard and honey and then whisking in the reserved 1 tsp of bacon fat. Toss your lettuce leaves, and celery leaves if you have some, with the dressing and arrange on four plates. Top with a quarter of the barley mixture. Crumble a piece of bacon over each mound and top with the deep fried sage leaves. Enjoy warm.