Grilled pork tenderloin, or any grilled white meat, is a lovely complement to this salad. It is a perfect salad for outdoor entertaining and al fresco dining.
Serves 6 as a side dish
For the shallot vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
For the salad:
1 cup prepared aromatic rice (Jasmine, Basmati, or Texmati), cooled
1 cup prepared pearl barley, cooled
¼ cup seedless cucumber chopped to ¼” dice
1/3 cup honeydew melon, chopped to ¼” dice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Zest of 1 ripe lemon
Sea salt and fresh ground pink peppercorns
1 pint fresh strawberries
Sugar or honey, to taste
Prepare the shallot vinaigrette:
Place the butter and olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk to incorporate. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the vinegar. Set aside and allow to cool 10 minutes.
Prepare the salad:
In a large bowl, combine the aromatic rice, pearl barley, cucumber, and honeydew melon. Add the shallot vinaigrette, parsley, and lemon zest. Toss to combine. Season with salt and fresh ground pink peppercorns.
Pick through the strawberries, removing any stems, stalks, and leaves, and discarding any moldy berries. Slice the berries, or coarsely chop if they are particularly large. Taste. Add a bit of honey or sugar if they are not perfectly sweet and ripe.
Place the salad in a large serving bowl. Add half the berries and toss. Use the remaining berries on top of the salad as a garnish. Serve immediately.
Recipe and photo by Donna Marie Zotter