January 02, 2021

Watercress Barlotto

By Rogerio Callegari
Watercress Barlotto


  • Salt
  • 8 ounces watercress (about 1 bunch), heavy stems removed
  • 2 ounces spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup flat parsley leaves
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 12 ounces pearl barley (1 2/3 cups)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 ounces Vasterbotten cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • Black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice and water ready. Save a few sprigs of watercress for garnish and drop the rest, with the spinach and parsley, into pot. Blanch one minute and transfer to ice water. When greens are cool, squeeze out excess water and purée in blender with 1/2 cup of the stock until smooth.
  2. Place remaining stock in a saucepan and place over low heat. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a wide, 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté on medium until barely starting to brown. Add the barley, stirring until coated with butter. Add wine and boil away until evaporated. Start adding warm stock, about 2/3 cup at a time, stirring frequently and adding more as it is absorbed, until barley has plumped but is still al dente, about 30 minutes. If more liquid is needed, add a little water.
  3. Fold in remaining butter, the watercress purée and half the cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with remaining cheese and a garnish of watercress sprigs on top.