Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese


“Hot-buttered groat clusters!”  –Firesign Theater.

One of the pleasures of travelling is tdrawing close to the seemingly familiar only to suddenly discover it strikingly different, like this Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese.  Looks ordinary.  But the taste – not like barley on this planet.  Many of the more forward thinking participants in Italy’s agritourismo movement are attempting to preserve regional variations on farm products that for one reason or another have fallen from grace or never gained the favor of larger commercial ventures. Barley is a case in point–in Puglia, where it’s often hulled, rather than pearled, it’s chewy.

And chewy barley is a delight.

In our absence…

Okay, so this is the week without a regular posting because one or both of us was out gallivanting about the Old World.  In the absence of a post from us, I have a few recommendations for recent goodies from other blogs that I follow.   Nothing really connects them, except my idiosyncratic taste and great writing.

Just remember, we’ll be back next week.  We know where to find you.

You say Apulia, I say Puglia.

Jody is still in Europe, hobnobbing with her fellow wizards, while I’m back home, working on my fourth expresso of the morning since my circadian clock stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that I’m no longer in the Mezzogiorno, the land that W. H. Auden aptly dubbed the sunburnt otherwhere.  I thought I’d post a few pictures of our trip (Wait!  Come back!) and offer a few observations about Puglia, food and biking.  

Warm Radish Salad with Bacon and Pea Tips

Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.  That’s the way it was with Warm Radish Salad with Bacon and Pea Tips.  Salad is a killer to photograph.  Light glints off the dressed surfaces, producing bits of glare or “hot spots.”  And if the salad is one part greens and another part something else, then while it may taste delicious to toss everything together, that homestyle approach doesn’t make for an alluring photo.  The heavier components tend to weigh down the more delicate ones.  What’s a guy with a camera and a chef for a wife to do?

Make the damn salad and photograph it a second time, that’s what.*  The salad above is composed with a photograph, or dinner guests, in mind–radishes here, salad there, easy on the dressing.  The photo shot from straight down later in the post is the way we’d normally eat the salad in all its messy collapsed glory.  Different stees.

You choose.

Easy Pizza with Sweet Onions, Spring Garlic, Cheese and Greens

To knead, or not to knead, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the dough to fold, or to grunt and sweat under a weary kneading. Perchance to sleep, and in sleeping to dream of gluten–ay, there’s the rub. At least, that’s the rub with this Easy Pizza with Sweet Onions, Spring Garlic, Cheese and Greens.

To knead or not to knead, what do you think?

Back to Paris – Potted Peppers

Some weeks ago I wrote about a spring visit to Paris where our son Oliver and I had a great meal at Chez Janou.  In iconic French fashion a nearby blackboard listed daily specials, including an hors d’oeuvre of  Poivrons grillées au feta.  Grilled peppers with feta.  Sounded straightforward, simple.  Okay, I could go with …