Put the water into a large 5- or 6-quart pot. Add the salt and stir. Bring the
water to a boil and add the barley, stirring. Turn the heat to medium so it is still
boiling, but not fiercely. Cook for 45 minutes.
While the barley is cooking, put the butter in a small saucepan. Turn the heat
to medium-high and stir the butter as it melts. When it has melted, tilt and tip
the pan so the melted butter moves all around the bottom and doesn't burn. When
the butter turns a rich caramel color, remove from the heat. It should be brown,
but not dark brown. This takes only a couple of minutes so don't turn your back
on it. Set aside.
Place the scallions on a cutting board and trim off the root ends and 4 or 5
inches of the coarse green tops. Finely chop the onions. Set aside.
When the barley has cooked for 45 minutes, check it for doneness by scooping
out a few grains with a spoon and tasting them. If the grains are chewy and tender,
the barley is done. If the grains are still tough and firm, cook the barley for
15 minutes longer, then test again for doneness. When done, pour the water and barley
into a strainer.
Measure 3 cups of cooked barley and put into a serving bowl. (Let the remaining
barley cool, then transfer to a container, cover tightly and refrigerate or freeze
Add the brown butter and scallions to the barley in the bowl, taste and add more
salt and some pepper if needed.