Seared Steak with Pearl Barley and Citrus

Pearl barley is something I always have in the cupboard but rarely use. It’ll be making regular appearances from now on because I loved the taste and texture in this salad.

The recipe is based on one in the Moro cookbook but as I live so far from the shops I had to improvise based on what I had to hand. The original is made with sirloin steak and grapes. I used venison fillet and citrus fruit. My thanks to Sam and Sam Clark for the inspiration and my apologies for any mangling of their recipe.

The quantity of pearl barley is quite small. As a main course it’s enough for two people but you may wish to add an extra salad.

Seared Steak with Pearl Barley and Citrus

  • Servings: 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter
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Image of finished dish


About 200g venison fillet or sirloin steak (double the quantity if you’re serving 4)

Olive oil, salt and black pepper

50g (dried weight) pearl barley

A generous bunch of parsley, leaves picked from the stems

3-4 mandarin oranges, segmented and all white pith removed or 2 oranges, peeled and segmented without membrane

For the marinade:

1/2 small onion, grated

1 tbsp lime juice and a squeeze of lemon juice

1 tspn sumac

1 tspn coriander seeds, freshly ground

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of ground black pepper

For the dressing:

1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt

1 tbsp lime or lemon juice

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tspn sumac

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of ground coriander

Image of cooked pearl barley and parsley


Simmer the pearl barley in a litre of water for 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Mix the marinade ingredients together and rub all over the steaks. Leave to marinate for 2-4 hours.

Image of steaks marinating

Blend the dressing ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a griddle pan until it’s smoking, rub the steaks with a little oil and sear the steaks for a minute or so each side, seasoning with salt as you turn them. Remove from the heat and rest the meat while you put the salad together.

Put the barley in a bowl, add the whole parsley leaves and orange segments and pour over the dressing, mixing well.

Image of pearl barley and citrus salad

Cut the steak across the grain into slices about 1cm thick.  Mix some of the strips into the salad and lay the rest on top. Serve immediately.

Image of Seared Steak with Pearl Barley and Citrus


4 thoughts on “Seared Steak with Pearl Barley and Citrus

  1. This looks delicious. My feelings about barley wax and wane, according to my most recent experience. If not overcooked, I really enjoy it as you’ve done it here, but in soup and – God help us – “barlottos” it always seems too mushy too me, and leftovers that would be wonderful with farro don’t work at all for me with barley. On the other hand, I understand that European barley may be less pearled than what we get, which may be part of the problem. Anyway, lovely dish. I’d be happy to sitting down with it and glass of Côtes de Rhone tonight. Thanks.

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