I love this time of year when all the early spring fruits and veggies start to show up in the farmer's markets. This could easily be done as a risotto, but I tossed this together with a bunch of barley I'd cooked up earlier in the week. I frequently cook a bunch of whatever favorite grain of the week I'm working with and keep it in the fridge. Then I just add it to various things all through the week, making it oh-so-easy to bring whole grains into my diet. —TheWimpyVegetarian
shelled fresh peas
medium - large asparagus spears
vegetable broth, preferably homemade
freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup barley grain
salt and pepper
cup Italian parsley leaves
lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
cloves of garlic
olive oil, or enough to make a sauce-like consistency
Trim the top and bottom off the artichoke. Slice into 8 pie-shaped pieces; hollow out the choke. Rub with lemon to keep it from turning brown.
Bring the veggie broth, white wine and lemon juice to a boil. Add a sprig of thyme. Throw in the peas and artichoke slices. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the peas and artichokes are tender. Remove from the broth mixture and set aside.
Put the barley grain into the broth mixture and add 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the barley is al dente (tender but a little chewy).
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the asparagus spears into 3/4" slices on the diagonal and toss in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of dried thyme. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside
In a blender, combine the mint, sorrel, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and garlic cloves. Whirl like crazy while drizzling in the olive oil. Drizzle in enough to get a pour-able consistency.
When the barley is done, toss it with the peas, artichokes, asparagus and mint-sorrel pesto. Serve warm.