Friday, January 21, 2011

Shrimp and Orzo Salad

I was feeling creative the other night and made up this recipe for a Shrimp and Orzo Salad. For some reason, all these things just sounded really yummy to me. And actually, it turned out pretty good. I sort of cobbled together this orzo salad recipe from Simply Recipes, this balsamic mushrooms recipe from Martha Stewart, and this orzo recipe from Rachael Ray.

Here's what you need:

1 Cucumber
1/2 a bag of Baby Spinach
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
8 oz. Sliced Mushrooms
3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 cans (3 1/2 cups) Chicken Stock
2 cups orzo
1 lb of Shrimp
Juice of 1 Lemon, divided
3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
Pinch of Dried Basil
Pinch of Dried Oregano
Feta cheese (as much as you like)
Salt and Pepper

Wow, that's a lot of ingredients! Don't worry, it's not that hard to put together.

1.Peel the cucumber and cut it into cubes.

2. Tear the stems off the spinach leaves. (Or don't, if they don't bother you. I don't like the tough stems personally.)

3. Make the balsamic mushrooms: Heat the 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook them until they're brown, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the 3 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. of salt, and some pepper. Cook another minute, then take the mushrooms off the heat and spread them out to cool.

5. Next, start cooking the orzo. Put the chicken broth in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it's boiling, stir in the orzo. Return the broth to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is tender. (Side note: You could cook the orzo with water -- the directions are on the box -- but cooking it with chicken stock adds LOTS of flavor.) When the orzo is finished cooking, try to cool it down a little by spreading it out on a platter or cookie sheet and/or placing it in the fridge. It will be really hot and this is supposed to be a cold salad.

6. Next go ahead and make the dressing: Place in a bowl the 3 Tbsp. of vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard, a pinch of dried basil, and a pinch of oregano (or any other herbs you'd like to throw in).

Whisk it until it looks like this.

7. Now cook the shrimp. If they have shells or tails, remove them. Place a little oil in a pan over medium high heat. Season the shrimp with some salt and pepper and the remaining lemon juice.

8. Cook the shrimp until they are pink and yummy-looking. Then take them off the heat and let them cool a bit.

9. Cut the feta cheese into cubes (or crumble it if you prefer).

10. Mix it all together! Toss the cucumbers, spinach, mushrooms, shrimp, orzo, feta, and dressing in a BIG bowl. Add some salt and pepper to taste. If you can wait, put the salad in the fridge to chill for a while. If you can't wait, have some right away (but it's better cold)! The recipe makes plenty for leftovers -- we ate on it for a couple of days!


Deidre said...

I've always wanted to try orozo but I'm scared of "new" things. What does it taste like? If you can describe it.

Anonymous said...

Looks and sounds great. Now if we could only get Dad to try it!

Amanda said...

Deidre, it's just a very small pasta. It looks like rice and it is cooked like rice usually (it absorbs the liquid) but it just tastes like pasta. If you cook it with chicken broth it takes on more of the chicken broth flavor.