Because barley is the first crop to ripen in the spring it has become a symbol of new life and hope, making it the perfect grain for this vibrant springtime salad.


  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) Tibetan Purple or Bronze Barley Berries

  • 2 × 115 g (4 oz) salmon fillets, skin removed and pin-boned

    The Miller's Daughter Book Cover The Miller's Daughter Emma Zimmerman
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped into large pieces

  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 radishes, finely sliced

  • fennel fronds, to garnish (optional) 

For the creamy dill dressing:

  • 115 g (4 oz/1/2 cup) sour cream

  • 115 g (4 oz/1/2 cup) mayonnaise

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • fine sea salt and freshly ground

  • black pepper 


Rinse the barley, then place in a medium saucepan and cover with 715 ml (24 fl oz/3 cups) water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes until the barley is soft and chewy. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).

Place the salmon, asparagus and fennel on a sheet pan (baking sheet) and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 12 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked and the asparagus and fennel are tender. The time will vary slightly depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets – use a knife to check for opaque pinkness. Remove and set aside to cool, then flake the salmon into bite-sized pieces.

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Toss together the cooked barley, flaked salmon, asparagus, fennel, radish and dressing in a large bowl. Place in the fridge and serve chilled, garnished with fennel fronds, if desired.

Excerpted with permission from The Miller’s Daughter by Emma Zimmerman, published by Hardie Grant Books, May 2022, RRP $29.99 Hardcover

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