Sylvia's Table by Liz Neumark is our Top Pick in Cookbooks for September! Discover the joys of fresh food with this scrumptious collection of "Fresh, Seasonal Recipes from Our Farm to Your Family."

Late Summer Barley Salad with Roasted Portobello Mushrooms


With corn, tomatoes, and basil joining mushrooms and walnuts, this dish bridges the end of summer to early fall. If you have the time, marinate the mushrooms for a few hours before grilling and finishing the dish. This is another specialty of my niece Dinah Herlands Foer.

Summer Barley Salad


Serves 4

  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 whole clove

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons low- sodium soy sauce

  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh oregano

  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Kernels from 2 ears corn (see page 109)

  • Leaves from about 6 sprigs basil, plus extra for garnish

  • 1 cup (packed) arugula

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano (optional)

  • ¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

  • 1½ cups cooked barley


Wipe the mushrooms clean and remove the stems. Place the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough that they are not overlapping. Combine the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, wine, and soy sauce and pour the mixture over the mushrooms. Place the oregano and rosemary sprigs under and over the mushrooms; sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper and set them aside.

If the corn kernels are young and tender, they need no cooking. Otherwise, blanch them by dumping them into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, then refresh them quickly under cold water and drain them well.

Combine the basil, arugula, walnuts, garlic clove, cheese, and the remaining olive oil in a food processor and puree, adding small amounts of oil as needed to make a thick pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss about half the pesto with the barley while it is still warm, then stir in the corn kernels and tomatoes. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and pat them dry. Grill the mushrooms over a charcoal fire or on a kitchen grill or broil them until nicely browned. Let the mushrooms sit for 10 minutes, then remove them from their cooking juices (reserve juices for another use, like stock or soup, or discard). sylviastableArrange the barley salad on a serving platter. Slice the mushrooms and place them on the barley or serve the barley on individual plates and top each serving with a whole mushroom. Top with dollops of the remaining pesto and garnish with basil leaves.

This can be made in advance, but keep the barley and the mushrooms, along with their cooking juices, separate until you are ready to serve. If you refrigerate the components, bring them to room temperature before serving.

Excerpted from Sylvia's Table by Liz Neumark with Carole Lalli. Copyright © 2013 by Liz Neumark. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.

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