With a little citrus dressing, sweet shrimp, and tangy feta, this orzo salad is a wonderful spring or summer meal.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add 3/4 lb. (12 oz.) of orzo (rice-shaped pasta) and cook until al dente.
Drain the pasta, pour it into a large serving bowl, and immediately pour in the lemon/olive oil mixture. Mix well.
Prepare 1 lb. of raw shrimp by peeling and deveining it. Deveining? Yep, you gotta do it. With a small sharp knife, make a small slice down the back of the shrimp and gently pull out the thin, black string. Want to know what that is? Oh, come on – you know you do. It’s the shrimp’s digestive track. The darker it is, the more recently the little guy ate before he met his doom. Okay, I am not the squeamish type (I love watching medical procedures on the Discovery Channel as much as the next gal), but I think I just throw up a little in my mouth.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. You could also add a little crushed red pepper for a touch of heat. I didn’t dare do that because I knew I’d get that “Are you trying to poison me?” look from my kids. My 7- and 4-year old can’t wait to steal a piece octopus or eel sushi off of my plate, but my 7-year old gags when eating mashed potatoes and my 4-year old won’t touch Cheerios. Seriously!
Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes until it’s just done. Don’t overcook it; it will be rubbery.
Add 1 cup green onions (green and white parts) and 1 cup chopped Italian parsley to the orzo. Add the shrimp and 3/4 cup feta cheese, and stir well. Let the orzo mixture sit for a hour so that the flavours have time to meld. If you make it earlier in the day, cover and place the orzo in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
Just before serving, chop 5 large basil leaves. Actually, you want to chiffonade (pronounced shif-ah-nahd) them. Place the basil leaves on top of each other, roll them into a small tube and slice across it. You’ll get pretty little strips of basil.
Add the basil to the orzo and mix well. If you’d like, serve over a bed of spinach or lettuce.
Greek Shrimp Orzo