This is a simple side dish using some of the season's last summer squash. Although the ingredients are few, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, as the flavors and texture of the shallots, barley, and squash play off each other.
1 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 medium summer squash, in very small dice
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the barley and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the barley is tender and the water is all absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.
While the barley cooks, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallot and saute for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the squash and continue to saute until tender. Remove from heat.
Combine the barley and the squash mixture, stirring to thoroughly mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.