A brunch friendly warm salad…

I recently went for brunch at one of our local pubs with my family. Looking at the menu, I immediately gravitated towards the classics – fluffy scrambled eggs with chilli lime avocado toast or with smoked salmon toast (even though the toasts are daily regulars on our M&F menu). Torn between the two, I had to make a game time decision when our server came to take our order and I went with the salmon. I was immediately pleased with my decision when the server brought salmon and eggs to the girl at the next table beside us – it looked beautiful and delicious! However, the server then headed over to tell me that they had run out of salmon (shriek) and (get ready….) avocado and that the only other egg items they had available on the menu were the full English or hash (but no mushrooms or roast tomatoes because they ran out of those too). At this point, I was ready for a terrible food experience except that we ended up ordering the seasonal salad – warm barley salad tossed in a lemon yogurt dressing. What the description didn’t include was that it was served with some delicate and nutty purple sprouting broccoli, crunchy mangetout and sweet cherry tomatoes – a dish right up my alley. Was it ever yummy and here is my take on a warm brunch-friendly salad.


Serves 6

250g barley (or millet for gluten-free)
2.5L of water and salt generously
300g cherry tomatoes, quartered
150g mangetout, thinly sliced
300g sprouting broccoli, bite size
15ml olive oil
150g broad beans, shelled
80g walnuts
1 avocado, cubed
6 eggs, poached (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

5 strands of saffron
250ml of Greek yogurt (or 2 tbsp tahini for dairy-free)
100ml of Dijon mustard
2 lemons, juiced and zest
60ml olive oil
1 garlic clove
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

maple and fitz

    1. Pre-heat oven to 60C.
    2. Boil water then add barley and simmer covered for 35-40 minutes until the barley is soft but still chewy. Drain excess water and back into pot covered and in the oven until ready to serve.
    3. Mix dressing ingredients with a blender. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    4. Wash and slice cherry tomatoes, mangetout, sprouting broccoli and shell broad beans.
    5. Toss broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat a fry pan on high until hot.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until broccoli becomes vibrant green. Take off pan and add to barley pot to keep warm.
    6. Poach eggs in a large pot with gently boiling water (bubbles should look like champagne). Drop one egg at a time into pot as close to the water as possible using a mug but as far as possible from each other. Poach for 3.5 mins. Remove and pat dry.
    7. Add dressing to the barley and broccoli coating evenly. Toss in vegetables and top with poached egg, walnuts and avocado. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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