i like to start the summer off with a nice cold beer or cocktail in my hand and a nice cold orzo salad in my bowl.
i also like to start my summer off with a dip in a nice cool pool but we dont have one. althooouuuugh...we are flanked by 2 swimming pools in our cul de sac so we could go night swimming if we really wanted to. you know, hop the fence late at night and take a dip and no one would be the wiser.
naaahhh that would be wrong.
i will just stick with this refreshing and light orzo salad and a cocktail and call it
cold orzo salad with smoked chicken, feta and asparagus
1 cup orzo (cook til al dente then set aside to cool a bit)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup smoked chicken, chopped
8 stalks asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces, steamed/boiled for 4 minutes
crumbled feta, as much or as little as you like
3T chopped fresh parsley
juice and zest of 2 lemons
5-6T olive oil
salt + pepper
1 shallot or clove of garlic, pressed or tiny dice
splash of red wine vinegar
whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl and adjust seasons to taste. toss in the cooled orzo and mix it up. add all ingredients and mix well.
i find this salad to be very good if chilled at least 4 hours but best chilled overnight.
this is just a method, change the flavors as you wish. you can make it a greek salad by using orzo, kalamata olives, cucumber, red onion, feta, lemon vinaigrette and fresh oregano instead of parsley. it would also be delicious as a vegetarian salad with asparagus, tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini and olives. or go the asian salad route and make a vinaigrette with soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and sesame oil and put in snow peas, carrots and shredded chinese cabbage.