Orzo 2.0

Thanks to A Glass of Milk, my love of orzo salads is well-documented.  I have a pretty tried-and-true method of throwing some cooked orzo with chicken, scallions and a couple other ingredients, which has never failed me.  But at a recent staff gathering, a co-worker brought in an orzo dish like I’ve never seen before.

Okay, that’s an understatement, it was life-changing.

Because it featured orzo in a totally new (to me) way.

In a spicy buttermilk dressing, and topped with avocados.

The longer I’m in the kitchen, the more I realize that there is nothing that can’t be helped with a splash of buttermilk.

When I made this for myself, I dove into the bowl and was disappointed that it didn’t taste as good as the original.  And then I ate a bowl for lunch the next day.  Jackpot.  This is one of those dishes where you really do need to let the flavors hang out together and get to know each other for a while.  As such, this is one of those dishes that is great to bring to your next summer potluck or barbecue.  Make it the night before, grab it and go the next day.

To make salad for 4, you will need:

  • 3 ears corn
  • 1 C uncooked orzo (about 1/2 the box)
  • 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1, 15 oz, can black beans, drained (I left this out as beans have never been my fave)
  • 1/4 C buttermilk
  • 3 T fresh cilantro, divided
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 1/4 C Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 avocado

Set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil.  Add corn and cook till color brightens, about 3 minutes.  Pull corn out with tongs, and set aside to cool.  Add orzo to boiling water.  Cook according to package directions, and drain.  When cool, cut kernels off corn cobs.

Add corn, orzo, tomatoes, scallion and beans to a medium bowl and toss together.

In a measuring cup, or small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, cilantro, lime juice, yogurt, chili powder, kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper, and garlic.  Drizzle over orzo mixture.

Immediately before serving (lest they oxidize and turn brown) peel and slice avocado into eighths.  Serve atop salad.

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