Barley with Sauce Verte, Celery and Apples

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Winter is the season for leafy green vegetables, and this recipe uses some fragrant green herbs to create a pesto-like sauce that dresses up any pasta dish. Here it is mixed with barley, then apples and celery top the dish to brighten the flavor and add crisp, crunchy texture.

The key to this dish is blanching the herbs. Blanching quickly cooks the herbs, helping them to retain their color and texture. It also kills bacteria on the surface and washes them.

Sauce Verte:

50 g (4 cups) Italian parsley leaves

50 g (3 cups) mint leaves

20 g (1/2 cup) chives

20 g (2 cups) basil leaves

15 g (1 1/8 cups) chervil leaves

10 g (1 Tbsp) Dijon mustard

50 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts

10 g (2 tsp) white wine vinegar

90 g (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil

Blanch all of the herbs in a large pot of boiling water for about 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the herbs to an ice bath to slow down the cooking. Squeeze out the excess water and pat dry with paper towels.

Mix the mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. Add the herbs and walnuts to a food processor, and while chopping, add the liquid ingredients to make a rough puree. Season to taste.

Toss the sauce verte with any pasta or grain, then top with celery and apple slices.

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