It was hot and humid outside so it needed to be light and quick. Hmmm ... what to get?

It was the weekend and I was at my local Marrickville Metro shopping centre wondering what to knock up for dinner. It was also hot and humid outside so it needed to be light and quick. Hmmm ... what to get? Fish and salad? Yup, that'll do. In a flash I sussed out what fresh fish was going at the seafood purveyor. Some nice little flathead fillets I could quickly coat in turmeric, salt & pepper and olive oil before pan-frying.

As for the salad, I found inspiration from this one at Sydney food blog, The Littlest Anchovy. I already had leftover cooked barley in the fridge plus a packet of frozen soya beans, so all I needed was a bunch of kale and I was set. Dressings are a cinch to create so I threw a few ingredients together and came up with one based on Japanese umeboshi (plum) vinegar, with oil and Middle Eastern tahini. A bit of a cultural mix that works. Umeboshi is already salty so there's no need to add extra to the dressing, but go with cider or red wine vinegar if you can't get it.

kale, barley & soya bean salad

Serves 4

  • 1 bunch kale, washed and stems removed (250 g)
  • 1½ cups cooked pearl barley
  • 1½ cups soya beans, cooked
  • 1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 1 boiled egg

Chop the kale roughly and place into a large mixing bowl along with the barley and soya beans.

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, oil, tahini, pepper and paprika into a small bowl. Whisk until emulsified or alternatively put the ingredients into a small lidded jar and shake to combine.

Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well to coat. Sprinkle  the pepitas, Parmigiano Reggiano over the salad and grate over the boiled egg. Toss one more time and serve immediately or cover and allow to chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. Letting it sit will allow the kale to relax and absorb the dressing.