Spring Medley: A Dish that Spans the Seasons

Looking for the perfect meal to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of spring? Tony Keogh of Cornucopia has got you covered. Below, we share his delicious recipe for leek and courgette barley cake, which features in our Spring 2018 issue.

Spring Medley: A Dish that Spans the Seasons

By Tony Keogh

It’s time to shake off the winter coat – Spring has finally sprung. As the days get longer so too does the list of fresh ingredients on offer. The marriage of the passing winter and the awakening spring is celebrated in this dish. The coupling of beetroot with raspberry, just like the union of courgette and barley, bridge the merging of the seasons.

This dish is surprisingly easy to make. Please do not be put off by the list of ingredients. A bottle of raspberry vinegar or a pot of tahini are two ingredients that you will return to again and again. Metal rings can be purchased in any kitchen store or large supermarket.

The punchy salsa is very versatile and will find a comfortable home in many settings, from a sandwich filler to a salad dressing.

Leek and courgette barley cake in a beetroot tahini cream with pumpkin seed and pea salsa

For the cakes

375 grams barley

1350 ml stock

200 ml white wine

½ head (5 cloves) garlic finely minced

10 grams fresh thyme finely chopped

2 leeks

1 courgettes

30 grams corn flour dissolved in 50 ml water

150 grams firm tofu

Dijon mustard

2 bay leaves

Little lemon juice

For the cream sauce

1 large onion finely diced

1 packet of vacuum packed beetroot

Pinch of chili flake

10 ml raspberry vinegar

500 ml stock

5 grams chopped fresh dill

50 ml apple juice

20 ml tahini

Seasoning

For the salsa

100 grams of pumpkin seeds, toasted Juice of one lemon

100 grams frozen peas, thawed 4 scallions finely chopped

5 grams of freshly chopped mint 15 ml white wine or cider vinegar

Seasoning 10 ml apple juice

Method

Start with the cakes; rinse the barley and add it to a medium heavy based pot, along with the wine, the stock, the bay leaves and the thyme. Bring this to a boil for about 10 minutes and then lower the heat and leave it to simmer for a further 40 minutes.

Quarter the leek lengthways and slice it thinly. Sauté it in a small sauce pan in a little oil until it becomes translucent and soft. Quarter the courgette lengthways and slice it into little quarter moons. Fry these off in a little oil in a medium frying pan and set them aside with the leek.

In a blender, puree the tofu, cornflour mixture and mustard. When the barley is tender, fold the tofu mixture through it.  Season it to taste with salt, lemon and black pepper. Remove the bay leaves.

Line an oven tray with parchment paper. Using a metal ring or a large scone cutter, shape mounds of the barley mixture onto the parchment into around 8 large discs – they will hold their shape.

Bake these in pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes.

To make the sauce; sauté the diced onion in a little oil until soft. Add it to a blender along with the beetroot, chili flakes, raspberry vinegar, stock, dill, apple and tahini. Blend the sauce until it is velvety smooth. If the sauce is grainy it can be passed through a sieve, if it is too thick add a little water to thin it out.

To make the salsa; roughly pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor. Do not over blend – you want to maintain a rough texture.

Flood a serving plate with a little sauce, top with a cake and top the cake with a dollop of salsa.

www.cornucopia.ie

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