Lemon & pearl barley risotto with spinach, broad bean and griddled asparagus / Serves 4
- 300g frozen broad beans
- 300g pearl barley
- 1. 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 200g spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 lemons
- Sea salt & pepper
- 12 asparagus spears
Put the broad beans in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cool water and then pop the beans from their thick skins. Set aside in a bowl of iced water until later.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook gently, for around 10 minutes, until softened. Add the pearl barley and stir for one minute, making sure all the grains are coated in oil.
Gradually add the stock to the pan, a ladle at a time, allowing each ladleful to absorb before adding the next. Once you've added the first few ladles, squeeze in the juice of both lemons, then place two of the squeezed lemon halves in the pan. Continue to add the stock, making sure to keep stirring as you go, until you have added the lot and the pearl barley is just tender with some bite. This should take around 35 minutes.
In the meantime, when the pearl barley is almost done, heat a griddle pan to very hot and toss the asparagus spears in half a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Arrange in a single layer on the griddle pan and fry for 4 minutes on each side until nicely charred. At the same time, add the chopped spinach and broad beans to the pan of pearl barley for the last few minutes of cooking. Season to taste
To serve divide the risotto between plates, then top with the griddled asparagus spears.