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Orzo and Grilled Asparagus Salad


Side Dishes


Recipe from Susan Nye's Around the Table




With any luck, you’ll find some local asparagus at the farmers’ market. The season is short but there’s nothing like fresh, local asparagus. 

Number of Servings

Serves 6-8


Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
8 oz. orzo pasta
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 med. red onion, finely chopped
1 T. fresh thyme
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed
1/2 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 c. pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted

Preparation - Directions

Make the vinaigrette — recipe follows. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high.

Cook pasta according to package directions, less 1 minute. Drain well and put warm pasta in a large bowl; add feta, onion, thyme, lemon zest and enough vinaigrette to coat and gently toss to combine. Cool pasta to room temperature.

Meanwhile, put asparagus in a large, flat dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat.

Arrange asparagus on the grill and cook for 1-3 minutes. Don’t overcook; the asparagus should be tender-crisp. Cool to room temperature and cut into bite-sized pieces.

When orzo and asparagus have cooled, add asparagus, cucumber and pine nuts to the pasta and gently toss to combine. If the pasta seems dry, add more vinaigrette and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to combine the flavors. Remove from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before serving and serve at room temperature.

Lemon Vinaigrette

2 T. lemon juice
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. anchovy paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil

Put lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and anchovy paste in a blender, season with salt and pepper and process to combine. With motor running, slowly add olive oil to taste and continue processing until the vinaigrette is thick and well combined.

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