I love beurre noisette so much, I play with it as often as I can- its nutty notes shine in pound cakes, the rich flavours play up the sweetness of more delicate seafood, and as a dressing to an ordinary grain bowl- it’s a Christmas miracle waiting to happen. For this salad, I’ve played with oyster mushrooms and thyme, but you can always swap oyster for portobello or button mushrooms and rosemary or sage in place of thyme. Earthy, nutty with a good spritz of lemon juice to cut through everything- it’s the only grain bowl I’ll want to cuddle up to on Christmas eve.
Pearl Barley 1/2 cup,
Oyster Mushrooms 120g
Red Onion 1 small, thinly sliced
Vegetable Oil or any neutral oil for deep frying 1/3 cup
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Salt and Black Pepper
Thyme 2 sprigs or a sprig of rosemary or 3-4 loose sage leaves
Garlic 2 cloves
Butter 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp more
Coriander a fistful, roughly chopped
Lime 1/2, juiced
Parmesan shavings for serving, about 1 tbsp, grated
Start by cooking the pearl barley in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan like you would for pasta. Salt the water, bring it to a boil, then add in the pearl barley, letting it cook for an hour or till done. Drain it and leave it to cool spread out on a plate.
Heat the 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a deep-frying pan and add the onions. Let the onion fry for 5-7 minutes over medium-heat or until golden brown and done. Move it around a bit to avoid letting it burn. Use a slotted spoon to drain the onions and set it aside. Leave about a tablespoon of this oil out to combine with the rest of the salad later.
Get a frying pan out and heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Place the mushrooms neatly in a line, and not very close to one another being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook each mushroom on each side for about a minute. By the third minute you should be done with most of the mushrooms on the pan. Season with salt and pepper and set it aside. Do this in batches till you have used up all the mushrooms.
Wipe out the frying pan and to this, add the tablespoon plus a teaspoon of butter and throw in the garlic cloves and let this cook over medium heat till the butter starts to brown and smells nutty and looks foamy. Quickly add in the mushrooms and tilting the pan, baste the mushrooms with the butter so it absorbs the flavour. Take it off the heat and in a bowl, add in the mushrooms, the chopped coriander, the fished out thyme and garlic, sprinkle over some more salt and pepper if you need it. Add the teaspoon of reserve oil from frying the onions, and add in the brown butter from the frying pan, as much as you wish. I usually just tip it all in, but it’s butter so I suggest you take the healthier route. Spritz over some lemon juice and grate over some parmesan. Serve.