For hulless barley, try Bob’s Red Mill or Camas Country Mills. Hulless barley lacks the tough outer coating and is usually bred especially for food.
Put the barley in a sieve and rinse under cold water for a few minutes. This will remove any starchy coating that has accumulated and keep the grain fluffier when you’re cooking it.
In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, combine the water, bay leaves, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil and pour in the barley. Reduce the heat to simmer, partially cover, and let it cook gently for about 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Remove from the heat and drain excess water, leaving the grain in the pot. Cover with a kitchen towel, and replace the lid. Let it stand for about 10 minutes to steam and absorb any excess moisture.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan. Swirl it around and let it brown to a nice amber color. Remove from the heat and immediately add the lemon juice to stop the cooking. Fluff the barley with a fork a few times, and add the lemon butter, dill, smoked paprika, and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Stir to coat. Before serving, chop the walnuts and serve them on top with the golden raisins.
If you have any of this leftover: For a delightful grain salad, add any leftover roasted seasonal vegetable, or whatever greens you happen to have lying around. Savor with delight and gratitude.