Photo by Tara Stevens
Gachas is an old Spanish dish, porridge-like, and traditionally made using almorta (grass peas) flour which you can still get in some health food stores.
The recipe was inspired by Copenhagen’s Relae* where I ate recently. There they only use seasonal, local ingredients and seem to be raising vegetarian dishes to a whole new level.
· 200g barley, soaked in water overnight
· 1 litre vegetable stock
· 1 small glass white wine
· 1 Figueres onion, finely chopped
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
· 1/2 cauliflower, split into large florets
· 3 tbsp flaked almonds
· 1 tsp smoked pimentón
· 4 large Portobello mushrooms, cut into quarters
· 2 tbsp unsalted butter
· 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
· Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat until golden and sweet smelling. Drain the barley and add to the onion, stirring so that it’s well coated. Add the wine to the stock and heat through. Add the liquid, one ladleful at a time, to the barley, allowing it to absorb most of the liquid before adding the next one. It should take 25-30 minutes for the barley to absorb all the stock, by which time the grains should be moist and tender. Don’t let it dry out, if it’s not cooked by now, add a little water to help it along. While the barley is cooking, boil the cauliflower until al dente. Remove from the pan and cut into 1cm slices.
Melt 1tbsp of butter in a pan until foaming. Next add the pimentón and the flaked almonds and fry until golden. Remove the nuts and fry the cauliflower slices for 30 seconds on either side until golden. Remove the cauliflower and add the rest of the butter. Add the Portobello mushrooms and cook until tender. Check the barley for seasoning and stir in the Parmesan cheese if desired. Split the barley into portions in shallow bowls, top with the cauliflower slices and mushrooms. Sprinkle with almonds and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.