2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 ½ cups dry orzo, divided in half
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup red onion sliced thin
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, drained
1 14-ounce can chick peas drained
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
6–8 small tomatoes quartered, such as Campari tomatoes (golf-ball sized tomatoes)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Place a pot of water on to boil but do not add the pasta. Keep the water hot until later in the recipe.
Place another small sauce pan with water on to boil and once boiling, add chopped mint, oregano, thyme and parsley and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and plunge the herbs into a bowl of ice water. Drain the ice water and pat the herbs dry with paper towels. This process will keep the herbs bright green in color.
Place the blanched herbs into a medium bowl and whisk in ¼ cup of the olive oil, the salt and pepper. Set aside.
In medium saute pan, place the rest of the olive oil and over medium heat, cook the garlic for one minute. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and zest.
Once the garlic and oil mixture has cooled, whisk into the herbed oil and set aside as the dressing.
Wipe out the medium saute pan and heat dry over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add half of the dry orzo and toss and stir for about five minutes to brown the orzo. Toss often and remove once golden brown.
Add a teaspoon of salt to the pot of water and bring it back to boiling.
Add the browned orzo along with the remaining orzo to the pot of boiling water and cook just short of al dente. The orzo should still have a little chew to it.
Drain the cooked orzo then pour back into the dry cook pot and add in the dressing from earlier and stir.
Pour this hot mixture onto a sheet tray and place the sheet tray over a rack and refrigerate for 30 minutes to cool. As it cools, the orzo will cook a little more and absorb most of the dressing.
While the orzo is cooling, cut up and prepare the remaining ingredients.
Once the orzo has cooled, with a rubber spatula, scrape into a large mixing bowl and toss with the red onion, olives, chick peas, artichoke hearts and tomatoes.
Pour into a serving bowl and top with feta cheese then serve.
Keywords: Mediterranean Orzo Salad