When I read the instructions for preparing orzo, I was a little taken aback.
Orzo is sometimes referred to as “Italian rice.” And rice, I know, absorbs the liquid it’s cooked in. So, when the instructions called for 2 quarts of water to cook 1 cup of orzo, I was a little confused. With a water to orzo ratio of 8:1, thoughts of football-size orzo grains popped into my head.
Fortunately, I read the rest of the directions, and noticed the word “drain.” Orzo, it turns out, is not rice, but pasta. Rice-shaped pasta, but pasta nonetheless. And as a pasta, it cooks by being boiled, not steamed. The budding crisis was averted, and an excellent meal awaited!
Broiled Salmon with Orzo Salad
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: Serves 4 to 6
WHAT TO GRAB:
2 cups orzo
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
6 roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for the water
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
6 ounces crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 salmon fillets, each about 1-inch thick and 3/4 pound
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Juice of one lemon
1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and then cut the quarters into 1/4-inch slices. In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes with the Kosher salt. Set aside.
2. Toast the pine nuts at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes, or until golden.
3. In a 6-quart or 8-quart pot, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the orzo in a colander.
4. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper. Whisk in the orzo and parsley. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes, and add the tomatoes and pine nuts. Add the feta, and toss lightly. If possible, allow an hour for the flavors to come together. Serve as a bed for broiled salmon (see below).
5. Preheat broiler on high. Brush a broiling pan with oil, or line it with foil and punch holes in the foil. Do not use a baking sheet – it will warp if you place it under the broiler (I learned the hard way).
6. Drizzle the skin side of the fillets with a little oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place fish, skin-side down, on the broiling pan. Season the tops with salt, pepper, paprika, lemon juice and a little more oil. Place in the broiler, about 6 inches from the heat source, and broil until the fish is done or starts to flake, about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness. Serve immediately.