Saturday, May 17, 2008

Orzo, Feta and Tomato Salad with Marjoram Vinaigrette

I love orzo salads, and look for different recipes. This one is a great base recipe from Bon Appetit, and it makes a great side dish.

If you don't like marjoram, which can be a very strong taste, you can substitute it with parsley, or oregano, or thyme, or dill. My personal preference is oregano. It works great with feta and olives. You can play with the dressing and see what tastes better for you. I also add a little bit of garlic to the dressing.

You can also add vegetables that you have around. Anything works with this. It can be artichokes, grilled zucchini, roasted carrots etc.

It tastes best when served at room temperature, so don't forget to take it out of the fridge about half hour before serving. It does taste better after you refrigerate it. The flavors blend together, which is a must for this recipe. It actually tastes better the next day. But keep in mind not to add the tomatoes until you are ready to serve.



1 pound orzo
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
24 ounces cherry tomatoes, stemmed, halved

Cook orzo in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well.

Transfer to large bowl. Whisk lemon juice, 5 teaspoons marjoram, mustard, and lemon peel in small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Set aside 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Add remaining vinaigrette, cheese, onions, and olives to orzo; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand 2 hours to allow flavors to develop. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate salad and remaining vinaigrette separately.)

Toss tomatoes with reserved vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix tomatoes into orzo. Sprinkle orzo with remaining 1 teaspoon marjoram and serve.

Makes 8 servings

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