Recipe: pearl barley salad with summer squash and almonds

I had this salad at franny’s, a restaurant in Brooklyn that you’d be wise to visit. franny’s is a distinguished member of the new class of Neapolitan pizza-fetish parlors, but the non-pizza portion of its menu is equally beguiling.

If you’ve ever cooked with fresh fava beans before, you know them to be a labor of love. I think they’re worth it, but substitute frozen lima beans or edamame for a quicker version of this dish.

**Ingredients**

* 1 cup pearl barley
* 1 cup fava beans (about 1 lb before shelling)
* 1 small summer squash
* ½ red onion, thinly sliced
* 1 green onion, slivered
* ½ cup almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped
* ½ cup basil leaves, torn into large pieces
* ¼ cup olive oil
* Lemon juice from 2 lemons
* Freshly ground pepper
* Salt

**Directions**

1. Simmer the pearl barley in three cups of water with a pinch of salt, covered, until tender, 30-45 minutes. Strain out any excess liquid, and allow the barley to cool.
2. Remove the fava beans from their pods, and boil them in salted water until just tender, about five minutes. Drain and rinse the beans under cold water to cool. Peel and discard the thin skin from each bean.
3. Optional: if you want to tone down the bite of the red onions, marinate them in the lemon juice for a few minutes.
4. Slice the summer squash lengthwise into quarters, and then slice crosswise into thin wedges.
5. Toss all of the ingredients together, adjusting the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

**Variations**

* You can be pretty loosey-goosey with the proportions of the different ingredients, and of course this salad pretty happily accommodates whatever is fresh. That goes for herbs, too — mint works well.
* Though delicious, fresh fava beans are a pain. Fresh or frozen edamame or lima beans make a good substitute.
* Change out the barley for quinoa or bulgur.

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