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Posted on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 9:13 a.m.

Barley with Roasted Radishes and Tarragon Butter is luscious and full of flavor

By Peggy Lampman


Barley with Roasted Radishes and Tarragon Butter

Peggy Lampman | Contributor

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Just returned home from an Up North retreat with girlfriends: camaraderie, cross-country skiing and wine tasting on Old Mission Peninsula were some of the highlights. Most of us are passionate cooks — some having made it our livelihoods — so we eschewed the great restaurants in the area, preferring to scratch-cook our dinners and enjoy them by the fire.


Trolling the wine trail on Old Mission Peninsula.

We divvied up meals to prepare, and the dinner I'd planned was a favorite, yet relatively simple, Chicken and Radish recipe. My plans were thwarted when the other enthusiastic cooks brought enough incredibly delicious food to feed an army. I ended up using the chicken for poached chicken sandwiches, carting home the tarragon and radishes.

Craving grains, I decided to make a dish with barley. The result (recipe below) scratched my itch; the butter adding to its lusciousness, but you may substitute with olive oil, if desired, to cut saturated fat. I love the slight cauliflower flavor of radishes when roasted, and the licorice hint of tarragon adds to its depth of flavor. 

I made extra tarragon butter, and froze it for last minute seasonings on quickie fish and chicken dishes.

Active Time: 20 minutes (conducted while barley is cooking)

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4 main course servings


1 cup pearl barley

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 teaspoons fresh chopped tarragon, divided

2 pounds radishes, cleaned and trimmed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

2. In a medium-sized pot, bring barley and 2 1/2 cups stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Combine 2 teaspoons tarragon with butter and stir tarragon butter into cooked barley, season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Let sit, covered, 5-10 minutes.

3. While barley is cooking, cut radishes in half lengthwise (leaving small ones whole) and toss with olive oil. Spread on baking sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt, and place on middle rack of oven.  Roast radishes for 10 minutes. Open oven and shake pan for even browning. Continue roasting 8-10 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

4. Toss roasted radishes with remaining 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon and serve atop cooked barley.

Peggy Lampman is a real-time food writer and photographer posting daily feeds on her website and in the Food & Grocery section of You may also e-mail her at