Spring Fried Barley with a Sesame Sizzled Egg

Photography By Deb Perelman | February 23, 2018

Ingredients

FRIED BARLEY
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons (60 to 75 ml) peanut oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups cooked (600 grams) barley (from 1 heaped cup, about 225 grams, uncooked), cooled Salt
  • 2 cups (about 255 grams) mixed spring vegetables, such as favas, peas, chopped asparagus or sugar snaps, cooked until firm-tender
To Finish
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) soy sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons (5 grams) sesame seeds, toasted, or a mix of white and black seeds

Instructions

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and scallions and let them sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the barley, spreading it out and sprinkling it with salt, and then don’t move it for 5 to 10 minutes; you’re looking to get a little color underneath, but you should keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once it’s a bit brown underneath, stir the mixture around, attempting to give a little more texture to the barley. Finally, add the vegetables, and stir for 1 minute, just to get them to heat through. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Wipe out the skillet, and heat over high heat with the remaining oil, creating a good slick When it’s piping, smoking hot, drop in 2 eggs (or 4, if they fit) and step back, because this is going to be violently splattery. When the eggs are lacy brown underneath, carefully shimmy a thin spatula under each, loosening and flipping the eggs, cooking on the other side for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the last 2 eggs, if they didn’t fit in the first batch.

Place each egg atop a portion of fried rice, and drizzle each with 1 teaspoon soy and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon seeds. Break the eggs so that they pour over the barley.

About this recipe

I realize this sounds worrisome, but some of the best fried rice l’ve made at home was via a French chef’s recipe. Yet Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ginger fried rice has legions of fans for the two best reasons: elegance and simplicity. In his version, far from the heaviness and soy-sauce assault of bad takeout, garlic and ginger become toasty confetti. Softened leeks disperse through the rice. The only soy sauce and sesame oil you use are the tiny amounts drizzled over the fried egg that you top it with, leaving their flavor uncluttered.

But even Jean-Georges cannot be blamed for what I did to it next: I used it to re-dress a mishmash of leftovers, and we liked them so much that it became a thing. Cooked barley, with (what I think of as) a fluffy sheep look is made for a frying pan, where those soft edges take on some texture and the barley grains happily absorb any flavors you throw at them. Because it was May and May in New York means you’ve finally seen the first glimpses of spring produce, I could not resist speckling the barley with asparagus, favas, and sugar snaps, instead of just the usual peas and carrots—but any seasonal vegetable, cooked only until crisp, then cooled and chopped, will work well. What I retained from the dish that inspired me was the egg on top (my way, so, extra-crispy) and the finish of soy and sesame, plus extra crunch from seeds.

Excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites. Copyright c 2017 by Deb Perelman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher

Ingredients

FRIED BARLEY
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons (60 to 75 ml) peanut oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups cooked (600 grams) barley (from 1 heaped cup, about 225 grams, uncooked), cooled Salt
  • 2 cups (about 255 grams) mixed spring vegetables, such as favas, peas, chopped asparagus or sugar snaps, cooked until firm-tender
To Finish
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) soy sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons (5 grams) sesame seeds, toasted, or a mix of white and black seeds
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