This salad is a showstopper at any summertime potluck! Tangy and sweet with just the right amount of spice, this vinaigrette elevates humble corn, barley and arugula making for an unbelievably flavorful combination. A perfect side dish or add some chicken or black beans for a full, balanced meal!
1/2c dry barley or farro
1/8t thyme – optional
1 garlic clove, smashed -optional
1 1/2c water or broth
2 ears of corn
1 jalapeño – optional
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4c olive oil
3 chicken thighs – optional OR add a can on black beans
1/4c red onion, thin sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/4-1/3c cotija, crumbled
Dry toast barley, thyme and garlic on med-high for 2-3 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally until fragrant (or just skip the toasting and add to boiling broth/water). Add the water or broth with a small pinch of salt, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until done then let cool.
Grill corn and jalapeño until charred on all sides. The corn will take a lot longer than the jalapeño. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and lightly scrape the charred skin off the jalapeño, remove the seeds and ribs (or keep em if you like the spice), then dice.
Whisk together lime zest and juice, honey, salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil.
OPTIONAL – Pour 1/4-1/3 into a shallow dish (an 8×8 pan works great). Place chicken thighs in the dish, let it marinade for about 15 minutes, flip then 15 more minutes. Grill for 5-8 minutes on each side on med-high.
Add the diced jalapeño to the remaining dressing and stir. Toss barley, red onion, green onions, cotija and corn together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over, add arugula and toss again. Top with chicken and serve.