It’s beginning to smell a lot like the holidays!
I won’t try and pretend this isn’t of my favorite times of the year. Lots of family, friends, fun and most importantly food. It’s the only time of the year I eat turkey, cranberry sauce and leftovers.
And while the ham, macaroni & cheese, candied yams, stuffing and all the other wonderful dishes that fill our Thanksgiving tables are enjoyed, we need a break.
Our palates need a break.
So I try cook right after Turkey day something that is completely different from the traditional meal. Light meal options are great to cleanse the palate and refresh the stomach. So here is one of my many pasta salad recipes. It’s quick, easy and good. The cooking the orzo and letting it chill allows for the vinaigrette to coat all the ingredients days after it’s made. I use shrimp because in my family they love it and I keep them on hand at all times. But I will substitute salmon, crabmeat (snow, blue or king) and scallops when I can get them. Or go vegetarian and don’t add any meat at all. It’s so versatile everyone can find a way to incorporate it into their lives.
- 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice and the zest from the lemons
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and ground pepper
- 1 lb 16-20ct shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 lb orzo, cooked
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 english cucumber, seeds removed and chopped
- 1 cup fresh corn, approximately 3 ears
- 1 small red onion, sliced (optional)
- 1 bell pepper, sliced (optional)
- 4 oz feta cheese, cubed
- In a small bowl, add lemon juice, zest, honey and shallots. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the shallots to mellow a bit. Whisk in oil to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to marry.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Drain and coat with a light layer of olive oil.
- Place in fridge to cool.
- While pasta cooks season shrimp with salt and pepper, or any blend of seasoning you like on seafood.
- Place on baking sheet in 1 layer.
- Roast in oven for 4-10 minutes*.
- Remove pasta from fridge, add cucumbers, corn, onions and peppers. Add shrimp once cooled.
- Combine dressing with salad
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Gently mix in feta cheese.
- Serve at room temperature.
- *the larger the shrimp the more time they take. 16-20 ct take about 7-8 minutes, 21-25ct take about 5-6 etc.
- Over cooked shrimp are rubbery so watch them in the oven.