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Bok Choy and Barley with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce

14 Nov

This is one of those meals that comes from pathetically staring alternately into the refrigerator and pantry, hoping desperately that a flash of inspiration strikes you from on high and you will have the best idea ever for dinner.  And, while this may not be the best idea ever, I was struck with at least a pretty darn good idea.  Certainly a healthy and a tasty one.  The salty umami of the anchovy works really well with the cabbage-like flavor of the bok choy and brightness of the lemon and olive oil.  Toothsome, filling, and wholesome, barley serves as a perfect backdrop of the lovely flavors of this filling and delicious meal.

Bok Choy and Barley with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce


1 cup barley

3 1/2 cups water

Bring water to a rolling boil.  Add barley.

Reduce heat to maintain a vigorous simmer.  Cook 30 minutes until tender.  Drain and set aside.

Steamed Bok Choy:

2 baby bok choy

1 cup water

1/2 cup white wine

1 tbs. whole black peppercorns

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 lemon, quartered

2 bay leaves

Combine water, white wine, peppercorns, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon, and bay leaves in a medium stock pot.

Bring to a boil.

Add a steaming basket and whole bok choy. Reduce heat to low.  Cover and steam bok choy for 10-12 minutes until tender.

Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Trim off end and then cut into thin strips, width-wise.

Bok Choy and Barley with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tbs. butter

4 fillets anchovy, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Barley, see above

Steamed Bok Choy, see above

1 lemon, juiced

Parmesan cheese, shredded

Crushed red pepper flakes

In a large sauté pan or wok, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add anchovy fillets and whisk until mostly incorporated into the olive oil and butter mixture.

Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Add barley and bok choy and toss to combine.  Cook 3-5 minutes, tossing frequently, until heated through.  Add lemon juice and toss again to combine.

Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes to taste and serve immediately.

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