Early spring is the perfect time to say goodbye to slow-cooked, rich dishes in favor of lighter, brighter, quicker meals. In this dish, quick-cooking barley makes a tasty “risotto” without all the extra stirring and the combination of the barley, shrimp, bacon, and spinach is satisfying without feeling too heavy.
Serve with a simple mixed green salad or start the meal off with Romaine Hearts with Lemon Vinaigrette & Shaved Parmesan.
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Wow, this is a winner, not only because it's delicious, easy, and fast, but also because it takes so well to substitutions. I couldn't find quick barley so I just made the same amount of pearled barley. I needed to eliminate the bacon so I substituted smoked salmon, and used butter as the fat. I used leeks instead of onions, shrimp stock instead of chicken broth, and Parmesan in lieu of Romano (just because I had these three handy). It came out great and the guests were content.
My husband, and I really liked this. I made it per the recipe. I, too, had trouble finding quick-cooking barley, but eventually found it at Whole Foods. Since I made a full recipe for two people, we had the leftovers another night. For that, I removed the shrimp, (in order not to over cook it), adding it back in at the end. The heat from the other ingredients heated the shrimp nicely. The main drawback to reheating this is that the bacon is no longer crispy. Even so, the dish still tasted good.
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