Ease your way into autumn with a dish that brings together the best of the two seasons.
If you want to make this more substantial, a poached egg is lovely on top. Spelt or farro can be used instead of barley, just cook them in the same way.
For the dressing
25ml (1fl oz) Dijon mustard
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tsp caster sugar
180ml (6fl oz) light and fruity
extra virgin olive oil
75ml (2 ½ fl oz) single cream
For the salad
225g (8oz) pearl barley
2 tbsp olive oil
good squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
1kg (2lb 4oz) undyed smoked haddock fillet, cut into 6 portions
25g ( ¾ oz) unsalted butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil
350g (12oz) baby spinach leaves
To make the dressing, put the mustard, vinegar, seasoning and sugar into a small jug and gradually add the extra virgin olive oil, whisking with a fork as you do so. Whisk in the cream and taste for seasoning. Set aside.
Cook the barley in boiling lightly salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, rinse in warm water and drain again, shaking out any excess liquid. Transfer to a warm bowl and stir in the regular olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and seasoning. Cover and keep warm.
Make sure there are no little bones in the fish by rubbing your hands over the surface. Divide the butter and sunflower oil between two frying pans and cook three pieces of fish in each, flesh side down first, over a medium heat until pale gold underneath (about two minutes). Carefully turn the fish over, reduce the heat a little and cover both pans. Cook for about five minutes, or until the flesh is opaque. Take the pans off the heat.
Divide the spinach between six plates with the barley. Lift the fish from its skin – I use a knife and fork – trying to keep it in fairly big chunks. Put it on the salad and spoon over the dressing.
Recipe taken from Simple by Diana Henry