I know I talk a big game about loving spicy food, but I might have overdone it with this one. The dish has mostly Mediterranean flavors except for the addition of the jalapeno. I used an entire one and thought nothing of it, until I started tasting the dish during the cooking process.
The heat was undeniable, but I tried to console myself with the thought that it wasn't as bad and would cook off a bit. Nope. It was hot. The creaminess of the feta helped combat it a little, but I reduced the amount to half a jalapeno. Feel free to leave it out and season with dried red chile flakes instead if you want more control of the heat level.
To keep this recipe fully in one skillet, cook the tomatoes and broccoli together, then add the barley to the pan, simmer it in broth and top with cheese. If you prefer your broccoli with more of a bite, take out the tomatoes and broccoli, cook the barley, and then add them in at the end to warm through so that the broccoli doesn't break down quite as much. I guess it really depends on your broccoli preference. Likewise, you could also roast the grape tomatoes while preparing the barley and then add those at the end to give them more flavor.
Note: Leave out the jalapeno and season with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flake if you'd like to have more control over the heat level in the dish. Also feel free to substitute broccoli with other vegetables if you like to cook with the seasons.
- Yield:Serves 3 to 4
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:50 minutes
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped (see note)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 3 ½ cups homemade vegetable stock or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallots, jalapeno and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and broccoli and cook until the broccoli has browned slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the barley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and allow the barley to cook until the liquid is absorbed and the barley has softened, 35 to 40 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste (remember that the feta will add a fair amount of salt). Stir in up to 1/2 cup extra broth if a looser consistency is desired. Top with crumbled feta and serve