Grana Padano and pickled onion barley risotto

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Josh Eggleton serves up a stunning pearl barley risotto recipe, flavoured with plenty of Grana Padano and a rich onion purée for a beautiful dinner party dish. Pickled onions add a bit of bite to this rich dish, and toasting the pearl barley before cooking ensures a deep nutty flavour.

First published in 2017





Pickled onions

Crispy shallots

  • 2 banana shallots, peeled
  • 200ml of milk
  • plain flour, seasoned with salt
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying


  • Blender
  • Blowtorch


Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Slice the top off of the 2 garlic bulbs and place on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with sea salt then wrap up and bake in the oven for 40 minutes
Meanwhile, make a white onion purée by melting 125g of the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the finely sliced onions and cook over a low heat until soft. Add salt to taste – this will also help the onions to break down
After cooking for about 25 minutes, blend the onions in a food processor. Add a little vegetable stock if needed – you're looking for a smooth, creamy purée
Meanwhile, make the pickling solution by combining the red wine vinegar, caster sugar and pickling spices in a pan. Bring to the boil and then allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the pickling solution over the silverskin onions and set aside for 30 minutes
Spread the pearl barley evenly onto a baking tray and roast for 10–15 minutes to release and nutty, malty aroma. Remove and allow to cool
Meanwhile, slice the 2 shallots for the crispy shallots into 0.5cm slices. Separate into rings and soak in the milk for 30 minutes
To make the risotto base, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the bulbs. Heat a splash of rapeseed oil to a heavy-based pan and cook the diced shallots and roasted garlic cloves for a couple of minutes, until the shallots are soft but without colour
Add the roasted pearl barley and cook until it starts to pop, stirring constantly with a good pinch of salt. Add the white wine and cook until this has mostly evaporated. Add enough stock to just cover the barley and continue to cook on a steady boil, constantly stirring
  • 300ml of white wine
  • 1.5l vegetable stock, warm
You will see the grains start to swell. Just before all the stock is absorbed, add a ladle more, remembering to keep stirring. Continue the process until the pearl barley is cooked al dente (you may not need to use all the stock). When it has reached this point, remove from the heat and allow to sit for 2–3 minutes
Preheat a deep-fryer or deep pan of oil to 180°C
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Drain the shallot rings and coat them in the seasoned plain flour. Dust off any excess flour and drop into the hot oil, frying for 1–2 minutes until golden brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper
  • plain flour, seasoned with salt
To finish the risotto, add the onion purée, remaining 50g butter, Grana Padano, chives and a good pinch of salt to the base, stirring vigorously for 1–2 minutes to develop the starch. The final texture should be runny and almost sit flat on the plate or bowl when served
Garnish each plate of risotto with more chives, pickled onions, crispy shallots and freshly grated Grana Padano. Serve with crusty bread

It can take decades of dedication and dogged effort to win a Michelin star. Josh Eggleton, though, was ‘shocked’ to win his first Michelin star at the age of 27, after only a few years of being a Head Chef.

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