"This 'polenta', made with barley, is a great alternative to corn polenta or mashed potato," says chef Guy Grossi. "It's both hearty and comforting, and works particularly well with braised dishes – a lovely way to use barley."
- 75 gm pearl barley
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 250 gm coarsely ground pearl barley (see note)
- Extra-virgin olive oil and Pecorino Romano, to serve
- 1Place pearl barley and bay leaf in a saucepan, cover with 1 litre cold water and simmer over medium heat, adding more water if necessary, until barley is tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). Drain and transfer to a bowl.
- 2Meanwhile, bring 1 litre water to the boil, season with ¾ tsp salt and whisk in ground barley. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until almost tender but slightly al dente (24-26 minutes).
- 3Fold pearl barley through the ground barley and season to taste. Serve drizzled with oil and scattered with freshly grated Pecorino Romano.
Garum's chefs grind their own barley; we suggest using fine or crushed white pearl barley, then grinding it a little further (but still coarsely) with a mortar and pestle.