Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad is a delicate pasta lending itself to blend well with a salad of black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh herbs.
What Is Orzo?
Pasta! Orzo is basically pasta, just as couscous is pasta. But the beautiful thing about it, is that it is not a dominant, in your face pasta.
Most pasta is the center of attention in every pasta dish. Not orzo. It is tiny, like rice, and delicate. It lends itself to be used in so many ways.
It is just as delicious in a cold salad with lots of other ingredients cut to a similar size, as it is used to stuff inside of tomatoes, peppers and any other dish you might use as a rice stuffing.
What is the basis for a Mediterranean salad? Tomatoes and Fresh herbs! Cheeses, other fresh veggies, such as peppers or cucumbers and of course OLIVES!
For my very authentic Mediterranean salad, I chose sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes for two specific reasons; the flavor of a sun-dried tomato is more intense because the liquid has been dried from it, leaving the taste of the tomato concentrated. The liquid of the tomato can make for a sloppy, runny salad.
Mediterranean salad is not a huge heap of lettuce with a few other things on top, it is a marriage of many flavors, salty, sweet and always fresh herbs.
Mediterranean salad can be enjoyed alone, as a side or pile a few favorite proteins on top for a one-bowl meal.
Why would you want to eat an ‘unripe’ olive over a full flavored, ripe, juicy plump black olive!
Olives are a fruit. Fruit should be fully ripened at its source to obtain the most flavor from them. Olives are no different.
Black olives are fully ripened olives. Green olives are picked while unripened and the flavor is not yet mature. And no, green olives don’t grow with a pimento inside for your martini.
Salt brine is what is used to ferment the olives we buy in the store. Much like pickling your own cucumbers, olives need to ‘marinate’ I like to say, rather than ferment, until the flavor has been attained.
Black olives are one of my favorite ingredients to put into a loaf of bread to be eaten on a tapas spread, along with soups, or a summer salad. Rosemary Olive Bread is a must try loaf of bread to be made at home!
Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive Salad
With a few simple ingredients, many of which are dry shelf products, this salad can be ready in under 30-minutes.
Summer grilling is the perfect time to make this salad as a side dish, simply because is doesn’t need to be warmed or kept refrigerated and can sit out for several hours.
The salty flavor from the feta cheese and brined black olives, paired with the sweet flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes and creamy texture of the pasta is ideal on hot summer days.
Having made a large bowl of orzo olive salad in the winter to place sautéed squid on top of, I had plenty left over to add to a chicken soup the next day, I made from a few chicken thighs. So flavorful. Nothing needed to be added except the orzo salad.
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Pitted Black olives
- Feta cheese
- Fresh parsley
- Lemon juice and zest
- Olive oil
- 4-quart pot
- Slotted spoon
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Stovetop or burner
Mediterranean Orzo Black Olive SaladCourse: Appetizers u0026amp; Tapas, Salads and VeggiesCuisine: Mediterranean
Delicate orzo pasta with black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh herbs.
Orzo – 1 cup, dry
Butter – 1 tbsp
Garlic – 1 clove, crushed
Water – 2 1/2 cups, boiling
Salt – 1 tsp
Sun-dried tomatoes – 1/4 cup
Pitted Black olives – 1/4 cup
Feta cheese – 1/2 cup
Fresh parsley – small bundle, chopped
Lemon juice and zest – 1 tbsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Boil water in a kettle or sauce pan and have it ready.
- In a 4 quart sauce pan, melt the butter, add the garlic, salt and dry orzo and saute for 1 minute on medium low.
- Add the boiling water, stir, simmer on medium low, stirring occasionally for 10 – 12 minutes or until done. Strain the cooked orzo running cold water over it to stop the orzo from cooking, drain completely and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, lemon juice, zest and olive oil and toss gently.
- Add the feta cheese and parsley and toss again, gently. Serve.
- Will last in the fridge for several days.