This salad is inspired by a beverage called “The Godfather” (no, not the movie). The blend of smokey Scotch and fruity sweet Amaretto create a perfect balance. Of course this makes a perfect salad! A blend of Scotch, Canadian Maple Syrup, a little soy sauce and other fun things, the dressing combines the sweet and smokey to mimic the drink.
But it doesn’t end there! The other ingredients in the salad contribute to the sweet and smokey theme as well.
Like the last orzo salad I posted, this one features some grilled veggies – but the secret ingredient is apricot, whose sweetness is important to this dish. Sweet sweet apricots, covered in grill marks… heaven!
Perfectly grilling apricots.
This being my first time grilling apricots, I really had no idea how long to leave them on for. Of course, I screwed it up! I first grilled them butt-side down for a few minutes, then turned them over onto the cut side… and quickly realized I needed to pull them off immediately. Most of them were reduced to a soup – still delicious, but wouldn’t hold their shape. I ended up grilling a second batch of apricots – just 1-2 minutes, cut-side down. Perfect.
Grilled tomatoes and apricots. I think I may have overdone the apricots a little.
To round this out, I also grilled up some fresh zucchini and tomatoes I got from the farmer’s market, along with some portabello mushrooms. Hindsight being what it is, I would have scooped out the tomatoes a little and drained the excess liquid off of the other veggies before I cut them to put into the salad. My salad ended up a little bit wetter than I would have liked, but still so so good!
So have a Godfather – or have some Godfather Orzo salad!
Recipe after the jump!
Continue reading “Godfather” Orzo Salad
Today was a very summery day, so I decided to make a summer meal.
We pulled the wee BBQ out from hibernation, cleaned it off, and sparked it up. I didn’t realize how much I missed grilled vegetables until we started eating… somehow everything tastes better grilled.
Today’s meal was not unusual for us – I think I went a little overboard making orzo salads in the last couple of summers. I thought J might never want to see an orzo again, but luckily the winter was enough of a break for him.
Yummy spiced grilled shrimp.
This orzo salad starred some simple grilled vegetables, some nicely spiced grilled shrimps, and an assortment of fresh herbs from my garden. This dish doesn’t have to be complicated. For once, I didn’t mix a handful of spices together or carefully follow a recipe step-by-step to make sure I didn’t mess it up.
This is less like science, and more like art. You take what you like, and toss it!
Over the course of the summer, I will be featuring a number of different orzo salads. I already know what my next one will be… Hopefully I’ll also find some other fun grain or legume salads. That’s something I’m missing from my database o’ fun.
My new thing is to mix chopped tomatoes and avocadoes and put it on top of a dish. It adds colour and freshness that I really like. I also finished the dish with a salt lightly smoked in wood from Chardonnay barrels. I forget what it’s called, but it is subtle and sooo good.
… and now we spot the elusive wild Orzo, in its natural habitat
Grilled Vegetable Orzo Salad with Shrimp
- 250g Orzo pasta, cooked and well drained
- 1lb med-large shrimp, peeled
- 1 medium red pepper, quartered
- 1 medium orange pepper, quartered
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 medium red onion, halved
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 c chopped herbs (I used basil, parsley, tarragon, mint)
- 6 tbsp olive oil, divided (1 for the veggies, 1 for the shrimp, 4 for the dressing)
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 small avocado, peeled and chopped
- 8-10 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1-2 tbsp chopped green onion (green part only)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Toss the vegetables in a bit of oil. (I use an oil sprayer to lightly coat them).
- Grill until the vegetables are cooked through, and have nice grill marks. Take off the grill, allow to cool, and chop coarsely.
- Toss the shrimp in a bit of oil (again, I use the sprayer for this), and the paprika and cayenne.
- Put the shrimp on the grill, and grill until cooked through and have nice grill marks (only a couple minutes on each side).
- In a large bowl, toss the chopped grilled veggies, shrimp, chopped garlic and chopped herbs with the cooked orzo.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together 4Tbsp of the olive oil with the apple cider vinegar. Add to the salad and toss.
- Season with salt & pepper, plate the salad and top with the chopped tomatoes and avocado.