Friday, July 15, 2011

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad

The other night, my sister and I decided to have a shrimp/prawn dinner. It had been a while since either of us had eaten shellfish and we decided to find a recipe that would be easy to make on a hot summer day. The original recipe called for grilling the shrimp, but, thanks to Colorado's extreme thunderstorms, we ended up roasting the shrimp. It tasted amazing and was definitely a better option to grilling in the rain. You can grill the shrimp or roast them, either way this salad is a great summer meal.

Before deciding upon this recipe, I emailed my sister with a list of about 12 different shrimp recipes to choose from. We opted against anything too time consuming and narrowed it down to 2 shrimp and orzo salad recipes. One was a Bobby Flay recipe, and another was an Ina Garten recipe. As anyone in my family knows, we are very loyal Ina Garten fans. I have probably read 5 of her cookbooks front to back at least a dozen times and have loved every recipe of hers. However, this time around Bobby Flay was the winner. The dill-mustard vinaigrette was the selling point of this recipe. So, feeling a little like traitors, we made Bobby Flay's shrimp and orzo salad.

This salad is the perfect summer lunch or dinner. It has pasta, protein, and vegetable all thrown into one dish, so you really don't need to serve anything else along with this. Since shrimp cooks so quickly, you can have this dinner made in 20 minutes.

Recipe from Bobby Flay
Serves 4

3/4 pound orzo
1 large English cucumber, seeded, quartered lengthwise, and sliced (Lebanese cucumbers would be good as well)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 1 or 2 additional tablespoons for shrimp
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
16 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Preheat your oven to 350ºF/175ºC. 

In the meantime, cook the orzo. In a blender, combine the dill, vinegar, and mustard until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a bowl, toss together the orzo, cucumber, green onions, tomatoes, and vinaigrette.

On a baking sheet, toss shrimp in a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 5 or 6 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked.

If grilling, heat your grill to high, brush shrimp with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side until just cooked through.

Divide the orzo among 4 dishes and top with shrimp. Garnish with extra dill if desired.

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