Friday, October 26, 2007

Orzo Salad

This summer I became obsessed with an orzo salad. It had spinach, lots of onions and garlic, feta cheese, and of course, orzo. It's a cold salad to be kept in the fridge, so it can sit and stew in it's own flavors. Like a good cheese, it only gets better with age. Also like (some) cheeses, it stinks. (Well, more like you stink, since there is about 6 cloves of garlic in the thing.) The consumption of garlic is always a battle with me. On the one hand it is tasty, and very good for you. On the other hand it doesn't leave you very fragrantly pleasing.
So to compromise I try to not consume to much garlic when I am around lots of people, like at work. This made me pretty sad since the salad I described above is one I could see myself eating every single day, and a great option to bring for lunch.

But now I have a solution! I was watching Everyday Italian a while back, and on the show Giada made a "Tri-Colore Orzo Salad". (Which translates to three colours.) It was very similar to my beloved (but garlicy) salad I yearned to enjoy on a regular basis, only without the garlic and onions and other things that wouldn't smell too great. I made a mental note to try this new salad out sometime, and that was that.

Then sometime last week as I was trying to scrounge something up for my lunch, I decide see about making this sald. Lucky enough I had orzo so I set to work. The result was wonderful.
I ended up improvising a bit since I didn't have the exact ingredients she used, and because I couldn't be bothered to look up the recipe to find out for sure wether I did or not. (Turns out I was pretty close.)

I'm also really proud of staying true to the "tri-colore" theme of the salad, by finding three colours to put in it:
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The recipe will be a rough idea of what I put in my salad, since I never keep track of exact measurements when cooking. I also made enough for my lunch as well as my parents who always have difficulty cooking for themselves after work. Keep in mind these measurements can easily be changed to suit how many mouths you intend on feeding. (This recipe fed about 4.)

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What you will need:
2 1/2 cups orzo, cooked al dente
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup baby arugula
1/2 cup of crasisns
1/4 cup of light feta cheese
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tbsp
3 tbsp or juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon*
salt and pepper to taste

*I didn't have any lemon zest in this batch, since I still don't have zester, and I am completely hopeless to somehow accomplish another way to zest it up. (How do I even live like this?!) I'd highly recommend adding some though, because I imagine it is wonderful.

What to do:
Cook the orzo to package directions. Toss with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, and let cool. Meanwhile juice&zest the lemon, rip apart (or chop) the arugula and the spinach, and dice (or crumble) the feta cheese.
Toss the orzo with the rest of the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, spinach, arugula, crasins, and feta. Add a pinch of salt and a generous grind or two of fresh black pepper. Chill and serve.

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As I mentioned earlier in this post, this is the type of salad that gets better the longer it sits in the fridge.
Some other ideas to add to this would be some chopped peppers, green onions, and if you're brave, (or alone) a glove of garlic or two. (I mean one or two cloves wouldn't be that bad, right?) Next time I will try it.


K said...

I'm glad you posted your version of this - I made it the other day and it was really good! (Much less involved than De Laurentiis' version. Which is nice because sometimes I'm just too lazy.) It's a keeper recipe.

ventures with veggies said...

It's sure become a recipe i've found myself falling back on. Also, it's great to experiment with different veggies added to it. I made one the other day with peppers, cucumbers, tomotoes, and onions. It was great.