Think "barley," and the first thing that comes to my mind is usually feed for livestock—I don't even consider it under the header of "whole grains," which I equate with oats or whole wheat, and I'm sure I can't be the only one. Luckily, Lorna Sass is out to change the perception that whole grains just means substituting brown rice for sushi or making steel-cut Irish oatmeal with Whole Grains: Every Day, Every Way. The cookbook introduces a range of recipes that incorporates a variety of whole grains, like buckwheat and polenta, to lesser known fare such as amaranth and Job's tears.

This recipe is a healthier spin on the traditional Spanish omelet with the barley substituting for the potatoes, making the dish a little less dense and with a chewier kick to it. Perfect for brunch without inducing you into a belly-hugging food coma, as usually seems to be the case with brunch. If you want to give it an Italian flair, Sass suggests substituting flat-leaf parsley for the cilantro, salami for the chorizo, farro for the barley, and 1/3 cup grated Roman cheese instead of the manchego.

Cook the Book: Barley-Chorizo Skillet Pie

About This Recipe


  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt (use lower amount if chorizo is quite salty)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 to 4 ounces Spanish cured chorizo, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked hulled or hull-less barley
  • 1/2 cup grated manchego or Monterey Jack cheese (about 2 ounces)


  1. 1

    1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cilantro, and salt. Set aside.

  2. 2

    2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10- or 12-inch well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper, and chorizo and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the pepper is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Stir in the barley and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

  3. 3

    3. Pour the eggs evenly over the vegetable-grain mixture. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a spatula to push the cooked egg at the edges of the skillet towards the center, allowing the uncooked egg to seep to the bottom. Cook over medium-low heat uncovered until the edges are set and the bottom is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

  4. 4

    4. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Broil the pie until the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Serve from the pan, or slide whole onto a large platter or cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


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