August 08, 2010

Marinated Cucumber and Orzo Salad

Other than visiting some of my parents, the main reason I go to Maine in August is to eat tomatoes. A few hours after breakfast each morning, I go out to the tomato patch my stepdad planted, and I eat a few handfuls of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes straight from the vine. There aren't many epicurean experiences that I look forward to more, except maybe my father's curried crab omelet, a sandwich at BoxLunch, or drunk pizza from Mangia in Annapolis (or Christian's in Charlottesville).

Of course, there are big tomatoes to be harvested, too, and today I had a field day with them. For dinner, I chopped one up and added it to a Marinated Cucumber and Orzo Salad that was a kind of random attempt on my part to make sense of the smattering of ingredients available to me chez mom and stepdad, but that also ended up tasting really lovely.

Marinated Cucumber and Orzo Salad
  • 1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and then into thin slices
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. dill (preferably fresh)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh mint, shredded (also known as a chiffonade, if you're feeling obnoxious)
1.  Combine cucumber, vinegar, olive oil, dill, and mint in a small bowl and mix thoroughly to ensure that all of the cucumbers have been coated with the oil and vinegar mixture. Set aside in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the cucumbers to absorb the flavors and to soften up a bit.
2. Meanwhile, cook the orzo (roughly five minutes in boiling water or until al dente), then drain it and toss it with a little bit of olive oil. Set it aside to cool.
3. Once the orzo has cooled off a little, remove the cucumbers from their marinade (save it), and add them to the orzo, along with the tomatoes and mozzarella. Add a few spoonfuls of the marinade, to taste, and either serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

The rice vinegar is really nice in this dish because it doesn't overwhelm the flavors of the cucumber and tomato, and the dill and mint add a great boost of fresh flavor that's just right for a summertime side dish.

Cherry tomatoes and regular tomatoes combined, I have eaten 25 tomatoes today. And I love it. More tomato recipes soon, including the tomato sandwich--a family standby.

1 comment:

  1. Carl from JacksonvilleAugust 8, 2010 at 10:32 PM


    That sure does look delicious. We will have to to scrounge up some tomatoes out here in our working man's vegetable garden. It ain't much but we are sure proud of growing our own vegetables!