The first grain I've chosen for my "Grains Three Ways" project is pearled barley. Pearled barley cannot actually be called a whole grain, since a mechanical process has been used to remove the inedible hull, the germ, and some or all of the bran. However, cooked pearled barley has more than twice the amount of dietary fiber of cooked long-grain brown rice, so I feel comfortable in treating it as fitting my project. (This information taken from the "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference", which I learned about in doing research for this post.)
The first recipe I made for this project was "James Beard's Barley Casserole". (Although I took my recipe from a site that relies on contributors, I did have the opportunity to confirm the recipe as being more or less identical to that in one of Beard's cookbooks.) Even though I used a mix of moderately fancy mushrooms, I found the recipe somewhat bland. While I like the idea of cooking the barley in a casserole, I'll seek another recipe next time.
The second barley preparation I made was to just do it in my rice cooker. What made it a bit special was that instead of water I used the beef broth that had been the cooking liquid for a slow cooker corned beef last weekend. This was quite successful.
My final dish is "Barley Corn Salad"(pictured below), which I have renamed "John Barleycorn Salad", because, well, why wouldn't you?
I made two small variations: I used rice vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, because it's what I had, and I used a mix of white and yellow corn kernels, because it's what they had at the store today. It is delicious: bright, and refreshing, and complex. It'll make a great summer dish, I think. It's smarter than the average barley!