Have I mentioned recently that it’s hot here? Some evenings it gets cool enough that I can think about turning on the stove, but the oven is pretty much out of the question. So it is, once again, salad time.
I’m having a bit of a Greek salad obsession (it it just me, or does feta cheese taste like summer?), so I’ve been hunting around for creative variations on the cucumber-tomato-feta theme. This one combines them with orzo (which has the special virtue of cooking in ten minutes) and a light vinaigrette dressing. The quantities of ingredients can definitely be adjusted to taste, and it’s tasty cold or at room temperature. And as tomatoes start to come more and more into their own this summer, this salad is only getting better.
A note about the dressing: this errs significantly on the side of being vinegary. (Traditionally, vinaigrettes have at least twice as much oil as vinegar.) I like it, but taste it before you dress and add more olive oil if the bite is too strong for your taste. Any leftover dressing is, of course, fair game for use on other salads.
Greek Orzo Salad
1 c. uncooked orzo (I used whole wheat, but regular would be fine too)
1 pint cherry tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes
3 oz. feta cheese
4 T. white wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil
pinch dried oregano
salt and pepper
First, bring a pot of salted water to boil on the stove. Add the orzo and cook as directed.
Meanwhile, peel the cucumber. Cut it in half the long way and scoop out the seeds if you like. Then slice it thinly into half-moons.
Wash the tomatoes and dice them. I like to squish out most of the seeds, but it’s just a personal preference.
In a small bowl or jar, mix the oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Salt lightly, as the feta in the salad is itself quite salty.
Combine the cucumber and tomato in a bowl. When the orzo is cooked, drain it and rinse briefly under cool water, just to cool it down. Shake the colander around to try to get as much excess water off as you can.
Add the orzo to the bowl, and stir to combine. If the salad is still warm, let it cool in the fridge before crumbling the feta over it. Dress this salad no more than 24 hours before you plan to eat it. Immediately before is ideal here, but I found I could mix a single serving of salad and dressing in the morning and eat it for lunch in the late afternoon without anything getting soggy.