Morels, green garlic, and spring onions have arrived at our farmer's market. Wonderful in their own right -- and harbingers of other good things to come.... I love morels, and wanted to do something with them. And then there were the spring onions and green garlic -- and a risotto-ish something came to mind. I'd thought of farro -- but was out of it -- and stores here don't stock it. I did, however, have barley, which turned out to be a good thing, I think. My husband, the pickiest of picky eaters, thinks so -- which is also a good thing. —louisez
- Serves 4 as a main dish; 8 as a side dish
about 1/2 pounds
green garlic (about 4 medium-slender stems)
spring (or green) onions (about 6 medium stems)
saffron, crushed and soaked in 2 Tbs. hot water
pearl barley, rinsed, any debris removed
about 4 cups
dry white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
up to 1 cups
grated cheese (I like a combination of parmeggiano reggiano and manchego; you can use either, or neither, if you wish
- First, clean the morels: Combine 1 tsp. salt with 1 quart of water in bowl large enough to hold morels. Cut stems off morels. Cut morels in half and place in bowl. Let sit about 30 minutes. Remove from bowl with slotted spoon to a strainer (you want to leave any dirt and debris in the bowl; if you pour morels directly into the strainer, some of that dirt and debris will go along with them). Rinse to clean well. Drain well and dry. Chop coarsely.
- Clean the spring onions and green garlic. Remove the root ends and dark green tops of the spring onions and green garlic. Slice in about 1/2-inch pieces.
- Add oil and butter to large saute pan. Over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add spring onions and green garlic and cook still softened. Add morels. Saute till morels are cooked and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add barley to pan, and saute 3-5 minutes, to coat with fat from pan (if there isn't enough left, add a bit more butter) and to toast lightly. Add wine. Cook over medium heat to cook wine down.
- Add 2 cups of the broth, bay leaf, thyme, and saffron and its soaking liquid. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
- While barley is cooking, heat remaining 2 cups of broth. When 20 minutes is up, remove cover from barley. Add remaining broth a half cup at a time, and cook as you would risotto, stirring occasionally and letting liquid absorb before adding more (this could take 15-20 minutes or more). When all broth has been added, taste barley. It should be tender but still have some texture. If needed, add water till it's done. Like a risotto, you want some creaminess as well. Barley should not be totally dry.
- Remove bay leaf and thyme stems. Add morels to barley. Add cheese. Taste for salt and pepper. Though this is good the day you make it, it's also good reheated the next day (the flavors will have had a chance to meld).