I mentioned in a previous blog post that while we were vacationing in North Carolina with my husbands family, his aunt made a shrimp orzo salad that was to die for. I was determined to recreate it. I knew that it definitely had dill, parsley, feta and lemon in it. What’s funny is, after I came up with this recipe, trying to mimic the salad we ate in North Carolina, I found a recipe from Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa (who I adore) that was almost exactly the same! And if the Barefoot Contessa says it’s good, you can be sure it’s good. I was proud of myself for coming up with a recipe that was almost an exact replica of super-star chef and queen of entertaining, Ina Garten. If you want her recipe, click here. Like I said, mine is pretty similar. There are a few slight differences, the major one was instead of cucumber, I used celery and cherry tomatoes, which I have to say, really added something nice to the dish.
Anyway, here is the recipe. It’s a great summer dinner or side dish, nice and light.
1 lb of orzo pasta
1.5 lbs of peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup of feta cheese crumbled
1 cup of fresh dill chopped
1 cup of fresh parsley chopped
the juice of 3 lemons
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
1/2 cup of olive oil for pasta
2-3 tbsp of olive oil for roasting shrimp
salt & pepper
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 pieces 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.