With it being the kick-off of summer beer season, I recently teamed up with Let’s Grab A Beer to share more about beer, and especially the imperative ingredient, barley. And what better way to do so then to share a beer and barley food pairing recipe? Trust me, you’ll want to wait around for this.

Quick, name the four ingredients that go into beer! Three of them probably come pretty easy to you, water, hops, and yeast. However, the fourth, barley (processed into malted barley) often gets overlooked. Yet malted grain (typically barley) is one of the most important beer ingredients, as it’s the fermenting ingredient that makes beer, well beer.

Summer beer season at the beach

Nonetheless, barley is actually rich in history, and flavor (if you do it right). It was actually one of the world’s first cultivated grains, believed to have originated in or around the Fertile Crescent. Oh, but I’m just getting started. The story gets better. Barley beer was actually one of the first alcoholic beverages. Ancient Egyptians would use barley to both brew beer and use it as currency. So the same ingredient they used to brew beer, they also used to buy it. Mind. Blown.

Today, however, barley isn’t exactly considered level with currency. By definition, it’s a cereal grain. Yet it’s probably not on the same shelf as your Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Mini-Wheats. In the U.S., at least, about half of it is used as livestock feed, while a majority of the rest is used for malting, and therefore, a major ingredient in beer and whiskey.

So with beer season kicking off, it only seemed appropriate to do a beer pairing with a barley dish. And with it being the start of summer, it was only fitting to fire up the grill. So today I’m coming to you with a grilled salmon barley risotto recipe paired with “Get Up Offa That Brown,” which is a brown ale from Los Angeles brewery, Golden Road. Generally speaking, the toasted, nutty flavors of a brown ale pair well with some of those same flavors you get from grilled meat. That roasted, toasty flavor cuts through the richness and fattiness of salmon.

Grilled Salmon Barley Risotto Recipe

So without any further adieu, I give you this grilled salmon barley risotto recipe.

Grilled Salmon Barley Risotto Recipe

Ingredients and recipe for grilled salmon

  • 1 ½ pounds salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp. Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp. garlic
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger

Mix all ingredients (except for salmon) in a bowl until well combined and insert salmon to marinate for a couple hours. Lightly oil grill grate and add salmon after pre-heating grill on medium. Grill for a few minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Grilled salmon

Ingredients and recipe for barley risotto  

  • 2 cups barley
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 6 ½ cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

This barley Risotto is largely inspired by a recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine, except I used a dry white wine as the first liquid I added to the barley. To make it, begin by first bringing broth to a simmer and reducing heat to keep warm. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan and add garlic (and if you’d like, chopped onions) to sauté for a couple minutes. Add the barley and stir until coated with butter. Then add the wine, stirring often, and simmer until the wine has been absorbed, approximately 3 minutes. Do the same with the broth, except adding just a ½ cup of the broth, simmering (and stirring often) until it’s been absorbed, approximately 3 minutes. Continue doing this (adding a 1/2 cup of broth at a time) for about 45 minutes until all the broth has been added and absorbed.

Grilled Salmon Barley Risotto Recipe

As the barley is finishing, add two tablespoons of butter to a skillet over medium and sauté mushrooms for five minutes until soft. Add mushrooms, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and remaining two tablespoons of butter to risotto and season to combine. And voilà, there is your grilled salmon barley risotto recipe.

For more about all things beer and barley, head over to Let’s Grab A Beer.