Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/3 cups pearl barley
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for drizzling
6 portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped, halved, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 or 3 small ribs celery, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups beef stock
One-third of Roasted Garlic Paste
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley tops, very finely chopped
1 pound flat iron steak
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Salt and water and cook the barley to just shy of tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Run under cold water in a sieve and drain.
Make-ahead: Cool, place in a food storage bag, and refrigerate.
In a small saucepan, heat 2 cups water with the dried mushrooms to soften, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the porcini to a food processor. Carefully pour in the soaking liquid, leaving the last few spoonfuls in the pan as grit may have settled there. Puree.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the EVOO (4 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Add the portobellos and cooked until browned. Add the thyme, carrot, celery, shallots, and salt and pepper. Cook to tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the sherry. Stir in the stock, porcini puree, and roasted garlic paste.
Make-ahead: Cool and refrigerate.
Night of: Return the soup and barley to room temp before reheating gently over medium heat.
Let the steak come to room temperature and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the meat with EVOO and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, turning once. Let rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice the meat and cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with the Worcestershire.
Stir the barley into the hot soup and let hang out long enough to heat through. Stir in the parsley. Serve soup in shallow bowls with steak laid over the top of the soup.