Shrimp and Orzo Salad
Fire down people. I see the concern on your faces. Another recipe? Is this turning into a Martha Stewart gig and the next thing we’ll see is a post on how to crochet wineglass covers to keep bugs out of your wine during outdoor parties? NO. While I have the greatest respect for women who are that kind of creative I am not one of them. However, despite projecting an image of incompetence in the kitchen I am a good cook and only gave it up when I married a man who enjoyed it so much it seemed cruel to take it away from him (he likes being my kitchen beyatch).
Now, 11 years later, we are so firmly fixed in our pattern that I have to schedule my cooking time. As he’s a man this requires plenty of notice and repetition. One week before I say, “Sweetie, I want to make dinner next week.” Three days before I say, “Honey, remember I’m going to make dinner on Thursday”- which he does not remember and may even go so far as to claim I never told him. The day of, as I get ingredients out of the fridge/freezer, and see his puzzled face I announce, yet again, “I’m making dinner tonight.” It’s a great act.
Sorry, I'm back to the topic at hand. What I love this week is summertime food. I love wintertime food as well but as summer just got here I’m still reveling in its freshness. So many choices! It is the time of year when it feels easy to go vegetarian because you can fill a plate with amazing veg and not miss protein. It helps that we have a plethora of farmers’ markets here AND our garden in the backyard.
Last night I made Shrimp with Orzo adapted from Bobby Flay. I’ve had this recipe for at least 5 years and it is great for parties because it comes together quickly and easily so you’re not stuck in the kitchen. Bobby says 4 servings but it’s a lot more than that. For 2 it means great leftovers the next day. Also, if you don’t feel like firing up the grill you can roast the shrimp. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread, single layer, onto a baking sheet with sides. Put into a 400° oven on a rack set in the upper half. Leave for 4-6 minutes until pink.
This is the quintessential summer meal- lots of flavor but served at room temperature and simple so you can relax at the table with another glass of wine. I recommend Oroya, an inexpensive white designed by a Japanese vintner specifically to eat with sushi. It is my go-to summer white as it works with any light dish. It’s dry and not too sweet with a nice herbal undertone. And that’s as winey as I’m going to get! The hardest part may be finding it. It’s not sold in most wine stores nor have they heard of it. I get it at the Asian supermarket.
There’s my weekly love- warm weather, sunshine, fresh flavorful food, eating outdoors, cold crisp wine. Sometimes it is that simple.
Greek Orzo and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette
- 3/4 pound orzo, cooked al dente
- 1 large cucumber, seeded, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for brushing shrimp
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
- 16-20 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Cook orzo al dente and set aside to cool slightly.
Combine cucumber, green onions, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add orzo.
Place dill, vinegar, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo mixture and stir well to combine. Gently fold in the feta cheese.
Heat grill to high. Brush shrimp with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for approximately 2 minutes per side or until just cooked through.
Divide orzo salad on plates and top with 4 shrimp. Or go crazy and make it 5.
Garnish with additional dill.