Somehow I am lucky enough to be traveling to Greece to drink their steely, mineral rich wines next week. In anticipation I have been testing some recipes to ready my palate for the flavors of the Greek isles. Though I know authentic Greek cooking will exceed what I have been preparing, but this one has become a delicious favorite around our house filled with olives, capers, feta, tomatoes, lemon and lots of fresh oregano, basil, mint and parsley. This recipe makes a lot, which is great because it just gets better the longer the flavors have to meld together.
Greek Style Orzo Salad
1 pound dried orzo
1 teaspoon canola or other light oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 zucchini squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped (save all the tomato juice)
1/4 cup chopped capers
10 Kalamata olives, chopped
8 oz Greek feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Juice and zest of 2 large lemons
1/3 cup fresh extra virgin olive oil, the best you can find
Drizzle of Champagne vinegar
Fill a large stock pot with water and salt generously. Bring to a boil. When boiling add the orzo, reduce the heat and cook until tender, about 9 minutes. 2 minutes prior to the orzo finishing cooking add the garlic, zucchini and red pepper flakes. When the orzo is tender drain very well and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, lemon and olive oil while the orzo is still slightly warm. When the orzo has cooled add all the herbs, feta and vinegar. Season with black pepper and any additional salt to your taste. Spoon into a serving dish, garnish with a few basil and mint leaves.
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