Look, I have something for you! That’s not baking, nor dessert. Something that can be called into service for barbecues and potlucks all summer long, or hang out in your fridge and wait for you to need a scoop of something real instead of a handful of chips or another piece of raisin toast. I feel like I’ve been shortchanging y’all lately, and when I was reminded of this salad – and how delicious it is – I got all tingly (as W said this morning when he woke up with his hand asleep for the first time: “it feels all sparkly, like a fuzzy peach”) – and wanted to rush home and tell you about it immediately. Of course it took me a day or two. Mostly because everybody ate it.
This is something my mom and I came up with years ago – like decades – to bring to a baby shower. I have little memory of whose (I have it narrowed down, but can’t be sure) but I do remember this salad. (Priorities.) It has orzo, and spinach, and purple onion, and lemon… we tossed things in without measuring, and when it disappeared and people asked for the recipe we figured we had better remember how we made it. The next time we used rice, and it quickly became that go-to recipe we used any time we had to bring something somewhere. Until we didn’t.
And then my mom made it on Saturday. (We had a Food Revolution Day dinner. It was great. I was so distracted by worry that there might not be enough food -there was- that I forgot my camera.)
Orzo – that slippery little pointy-ended pasta that looks like giant grains of rice – are generally overlooked as a base for a salad. (Or for anything, really. Does anyone outside of Italy cook with orzo anymore?) Its size is perfect for salads, slipping into the nooks and crannies between veggies, and never getting soggy. I highly recommend it – especially with lots of fresh spinach (it’s back in my garden already!), lemon and feta. And if you have juniors, pick up the salad bowl and bring it to the park with as many forks as there are people.