Orzo dill vegetable salad
Every once in a while, you come across a recipe that really speaks to you. The core of this recipe — a raw corn salad with lots of dill — was an amazing find on food52.com. Raw corn — sweet and light and crunchy. It left me completely gobsmacked.
Fresh cobs with plump, pearly kernels always had me headed for the grill, armed with any number of toppings (butter, lime, cilantro and feta being a favorite). I never stopped to consider that raw corn would be edible, much less delicious.
You’re never too old to learn new things. Thank goodness.
A regular side dish at my summer table for two years now, I’ve been bumping it up to entree status with the addition of pasta. I love its make-aheadability: a half-hour of work early in the morning means the freedom to play in the garden for the rest of the day, until, exhausted, I can barely drag myself in for a shower. A complicated dinner: out of the question.
Instead, pull the bowl from the fridge, give a quick toss, and settle down to a plateful of my favorite veggies, tender pasta, and a buttermilk dill dressing that coats it all so perfectly. Each bite brings the surprise crunch of corn so sweet and tender, I wonder if I’ll ever grill it again.
Serve with a side of fruit — or, in my case, more sliced tomatoes — and a frosty summer drink, and enjoy the fresh flavors of summer, while they last.
I hope everyone had a lovely long Labor Day weekend. I’m not ready to wave goodbye to summer vegetables, but I am looking forward to jeans weather again.
Orzo dill vegetable salad
adapted from this recipe
One of my very favorite recipes to come out of Food52.com, ever. A raw corn salad (yes! raw! unbelievably sweet and crunchy) with an addictive buttermilk-dill dressing is brought up to summer meal status with orzo pasta and cherry tomatoes. I also had some pearl cous cous on hand, so that went in, too. Any small pasta would be fabulous, I think.
- for the salad:
- 1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta
- 1 small clove shallot, minced*
- 1 ear of fresh, uncooked, sweet corn, the kernels removed from the cob with a sharp knife
- 1 medium field cucumber (or 2 pickling cucumbers), diced
- 1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed and diced
- 5 or 6 sweet cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 handful fresh dill (about 4 sprigs), minced
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- crumbled feta or goat cheese
- for the dressing:
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 2%)
- 1 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 of a sweet onion, minced (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- 1 small clove garlic, minced and mashed with a pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh dill, minced
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Prepare the orzo: prepare the pasta according to package directions; drain and cool to room temperature.
- Prepare the salad: Add the shallot, corn, cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Toss lightly to combine (and break up any corn kernels that might have stuck together). Gently fold in the cooled pasta with a big pinch of salt. Dust with the dill and parsley.
- Prepare the dressing: whisk together the buttermilk and yogurt until smooth and creamy. Add the vinegar and olive oil and whisk to incorporate completely. Stir in the onions, garlic, and dill. Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Combine: Pour about 3/4ths of the dressing over the pasta salad and gently fold to coat. Cover and refrigerate both the salad and the remaining dressing for at least 2 hours.
- Serve: Before serving, gently stir the salad to loosen, adding more dressing as needed. Top with the cheese crumbles.
- *Optional, for the shallot: if you or your peeps find raw shallots to be too much, soak the minced shallots in a tablespoon of vinegar, OR mix with a big pinch of salt. Let rest for 15 minutes. For either treatment, rinse and pat dry before adding to the salad.