Prep Your Ingredients: Bring 2.5 cups of water and the barley to a boil in a small pan. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. While the barley is cooking, prep your veggies. Chop the cauliflower into bite size florets. Mince the garlic and ginger. Trim the scallions and thinly slice on an angle, keeping the white and dark green parts separate. Thinly slice the pepper (if using). Peel and devein the shrimp and pat completely dry. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar and set aside.
Cook the Cauliflower: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat in a 10” skillet. Once shimmering, add the cauliflower and cook, without moving, for 3-4 minutes until brown and crispy on the bottoms (be careful it doesn’t burn!). Flip and continue cooking until browned on most sides and softened, about 5 minutes. Note: I used thawed frozen cauliflower, so if you’re using fresh cauliflower, you may need to adjust the cooking time and heat accordingly. Once the cauliflower is cooked, add the white parts of the scallion, the ginger, garlic, and the sliced chili pepper (if using). Sauté, stirring often, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
Sear the Shrimp: Add just a touch (about 1 teaspoon, depending on how well seasoned your skillet is) of olive oil to the same pan and heat over medium high until shimmering. Add the shrimp to the pan without crowding. You may need to cook in batches. Cook without moving for 45 seconds until the bottoms are beginning to crisp up and you start to see pink on the sides of the shrimp. Flip. Cook for an additional 45 seconds until opaque and just cooked through. Do not overcook. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and add it to the bowl of cauliflower. Wipe out the pan.
Make the Barley: Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and add the barley to the skillet, cook for about 5 minutes until toasted. Add the soy sauce mixture to the barely and stir gently to combine. Reduce heat to low and add the shrimp and cauliflower mixture. Stir gently to combine and leave on very low heat while you make the eggs.
Fry the Eggs: In a nonstick pan (or very well seasoned cast iron skillet), heat a small amount of vegetable oil over medium heat and use a paper towel to spread the oil all over the bottom of the pan. Once hot, carefully crack two eggs into the skillet on opposite sides of each other. (Or do one at a time). Season with salt and pepper. Cook without touching, reducing heat if necessary, until whites have begun to set. Once the whites are mostly set (you may still see translucent whites around the yolks), add 1 tablespoon of water and quickly cover the skillet to hold in the steam. Let cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
Plate it Up: Divide the barley and shrimp between two bowls. Garnish with your choice of fresh herbs. Top with a fried egg. Enjoy!