Herbed Shrimp Orzo Salad - Wine Dine With Jeff

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Oz of Orzo pasta half the 16oz bag of pasta
  • 1 Lb Raw jumbo shrimp that have been deveined and shells removed
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic ( to cook with the shrimp)
  • 1/2 Cup of fresh lemon juice 2 or 3 lemons plus the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 Cup of great extra virgin olive oil plus 2 Tablespoons to cook the shrimp
  • 2 Teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 Cup of fresh basil
  • 1/2 Cup of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 Cup fresh Dill
  • 1/3 Cup of red onion diced into small bites
  • 7 Oz of feta cheese block
  • 1 Pint of cherry tomatoes

Directions

  • 1. This is the perfect light salad to make on a hot summer day, I just love in every bite you have a flavor explosion from all the fresh herbs. This salad travels well and is great for any picnic since it is oil based. I guarantee, you will be the hit of the summer picnic if you bring the herbed shrimp orzo salad. The only problem is that you won't have any leftovers for yourself. I love the combination of the fresh herbs and the small orzo pasta, the fresh dill and lemon juice just pair up fabulously together with the shrimp. You can definitely customize this recipe by using your favorite herbs. Start with whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper. Cut up all the herbs into tiny bite size pieces to your liking.
  • 2. Stir in all the chopped fresh herbs in the lemon oil dressing. It will be very thick with the herbs. I like to add it to the oil first because you want to reserve 1/3 cup of the herbed dressing for the cooked shrimp. An other option if you want to add the herbs directly to the pasta without adding them to the oil dressing you can do that also.
  • 3. Add 4 quarts of water to a large pot and turn the burner on high heat. Add a small palm full of salt to the pasta water. When the water starts to boil add the small orzo pasta. The pasta should take from 5 to 7 minutes follow the package directions. The pasta when finished cooking should have a slight chew to it. Drain the pasta do not rinse the pasta with water.
  • 4. As soon as you drain the pasta while the pasta is still hot and warm you want to add the herbed lemon oil dressing. Mix through all of the pasta with the dressing and let it sit for one hour. You will be temped to taste test but refrain from tasting yet, the pasta needs time to soak up all the flavored herbed dressing. It is ok to let it sit out on the counter.
  • 5. While the pasta is resting cut the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside. Dice up the red onion into tiny small bites. I like using a good quality feta cheese that comes in a block. I feel that the crumbled feta that is already in pieces is to dry and bland tasting. I cut my feta into bite size cubes so I can taste each bite of feta. Mix the onion, feta and tomatoes into the orzo pasta salad. If you have vegetarians this is the perfect time to stop this recipe, if I am serving this to vegetarians I also add garbanzo beans for more protein.
  • 6. In a sauté pan add 2 tablespoon of olive oil and turn the burner on medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer add the shrimp in one layer and sprinkle the garlic around the shrimp. Don't forget to add salt and pepper to the shrimp. The shrimp should take 2 minutes on each side. You want to keep an eye on the crevice in the back of the shrimp where the vein was removed. Stay locked onto the thickest part of the shrimp (the opposite end as the tail), and when the flesh at the base of that crevice turns from translucent to opaque, the shrimp is done. It's cooked through
  • 7. Remove the shrimp and all the garlic pan drippings from the sauté pan. Add the reserved 1/3 cup of herbed lemon oil dressing to the shrimp and toss around with the cooked shrimp.
  • 8. When the shrimp has slightly cooled down add the shrimp with all the oils directly to the orzo salad and toss and serve. At this time you can taste for the salt level why you should wait to taste is that the feta cheese has a high sodium level so you want to wait until all the ingredients are in the salad before you do the final taste for salt level. You can serve this pasta salad room temperature that is my favorite way or cold from the fridge.

Recipe Video:

Herbed Shrimp Orzo Salad

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