I mentioned in a previous blog post that while we were vacationing in North Carolina with my husband’s family, his aunt made a shrimp orzo salad that was to die for. I was determined to recreate it. I came up with this recipe and it tasted pretty darn close to the one we ate in North Carolina. This salad combines really bright, summertime flavors like fresh dill, salty feta and lemon juice. It’s very light and refreshing but substantial enough for a main course. I struggle with self control on this one…I could eat the entire recipe myself and trust me, the recipe makes a lot!
Anyway, here is the recipe. It’s a great summer dinner or side dish, nice and light.
1.5 lbs of peeled and deveined shrimp
1 lb of orzo pasta
1/2 cup of olive oil for pasta, plus 2-3 tbsp for roasting the shrimp
the juice of 3 lemons
salt & pepper
1 pint of cherry tomatoes halved
2-3 stalks of celery finely chopped
1 small red onion finely chopped
3-4 scallions (green and white parts) finely chopped
1 cup of feta cheese crumbled
1 cup of fresh dill chopped
1 cup of fresh parsley chopped
1. Start by roasting the shrimp. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the shrimp on a large baking sheet. Drizzle the 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over the shrimp and sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange the shrimp into a single layer for even baking. Cook the shrimp for 6-8 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through (but not overcooked).
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the orzo, and pour into a large bowl (the biggest you can find, because you are going to add A LOT of ingredients).
3. Pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the orzo while it is still hot/warm and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I used about 1 teaspoon each, but add according to your taste). Mix well.
4. Add the cherry tomatoes, celery, onion, scallions, feta, dill and parsley and stir well.
5. When the shrimp are done, take them out and let them cool. Remove the tails, and cut the shrimp up into bite size pieces. Add the shrimp to the pasta and stir well to combine. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
6. Let the shrimp orzo salad sit in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight.
This dish is delicious right out of the fridge, or at room temperature.