Thursday, March 8, 2012

Odd Bedfellows

Mushroom and barley? OK, Prunes and pork - maybe not so usual. These combos made yesterday's new York Times Dining section's columns A Good Appetite and City Kitchen respectively. To some they're not unusual , to rather staid foodies, they're worth trying.

Melissa Clark did not put her mushroom and barley into the usual. soup. Instead she skewed them into a salad, adding celery and celery root too. The mushrooms were not the typical soup kind but a mix of cremini , oyster and hedgehog  cut into bite sized pieces.They were also browned and crispy adding crunch  to the mix. Ms,Clark cooked the barley as she would have pasta so that it wouldn't clump and ruin the salad. A homemade scallion vinaigrette that had celery leaves added was poured over it for a light refreshing onion-y taste.

The second pairing that Dave Tanis of City Kitchen created, prunes and pork may seem odd however it's part of some French and German provincial dishes. In fact the dish featured was French , porc aux pruneaux .It's just simply  a pork roast with red wine doused prunes. This is a cozy kind of bistro dish that also has berries and peppercorns that Mr. Tanis  added for spice and sweet. While the meat is roasting the prunes are simmering with port or even Madeira along with butter and shallots.It's a simple enough  dish yet perfect for a Saturday night dinner party.

Mushroom and barley salad? A bistro like creation featuring pork and prunes?.At first glance they may not go, however they are perfect complements to each other's tastes and textures.

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