Last night, I put together a very simple salad that I thought you might be interested in. It’s another one of Gordon Ramsay’s recipes, but this time, I put a heavy “Jay” twist on things. I added some parsley because it’s been extremely prevalent in our garden this year and can use some eating. I also swapped out the pine nuts Gordon called for and used pecans instead, like I usually do. I simply adore pecans and any time I can use them in a recipe, I do. Finally, I decided to go with baby greens and red lettuce as opposed to “rocket” because I thought the addition of some color and texture would add to the more straightforward arugula. While none of the changes I made were particularly mind blowing, I thought they made for a tasty salad that I thoroughly enjoyed.
As I said, this one is really easy. There’s nothing too much to its preparation and what you’ll end up with is light and perfect for a small dish that’s intention is to get you ready for something more substantial. The orzo is a nice addition that adds just a bit of bulk. The basil and parsley add the distinct flavors both of these ingredients are known so well for and the lemon and Parmesan vinaigrette does a wonderful job in rounding out the entire dish. As long as you do a good job tossing everything at the end, you should be left with a very nicely prepared and consistently delicious salad on your plate in no time.
For the Salad
1 Pound Orzo
1 Bay Leaf
1 Cup Pecans
2 Cups Fresh Basil, Packed
1 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped and Packed
3 Cups Red Lettuce, Torn and Packed
3 Cups Baby Greens, Packed
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper
For the Dressing
4 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, Finely Grated
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
6 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
I’d like to thank the one and only Gordon Ramsay for this recipe. Even though I referenced him above, I still feel the need to let you know that regardless of the fact that I altered this recipe quite a bit, he was my inspiration. Every single recipe I’ve prepared of Gordon’s has come out wonderfully and I’m looking forward to many more in the future.
Cook the Orzo
Fill a large pot with three quarts of water, the bay leaf and 3/4 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, add the orzo and cook for 8-10 minutes or until it’s just al dente. When that happens, strain the contents of the pot through a colander and then run the colander under cool water for a minute or so. Discard the bay leaf. After that, replace the orzo in the pot it came out of and add three tablespoons of olive oil to it and stir. The olive oil will inhibit clumping and sticking so the orzo is easier to work with later on.
Set the pasta aside.
Toast the Pecans
Warm a small skillet over medium heat. When the pan is to temperature, add the pecans to it. Flip constantly and allow the nuts to toast for a few minutes. When you see them begin to change color and when you start to smell them, remove the pan from the heat. They are toasted.
Make the Dressing
Combine the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl and whisk until everything is combined.
In a large bowl, add the basil, parsley, red lettuce and baby greens.
Add the orzo and dressing to the bowl as well. Toss everything together until the salad and orzo is coated with the dressing. Add olive oil if necessary. Also, you may add a few pinches of salt and pepper to the salad to taste if you wish.
Plate & Serve
Divide the contents of the large bowl between plates. Also divide and sprinkle the nuts on top of the salad. Serve.
The Final Orzo Salad
Yes, this was a quick one. I especially enjoy these types of salads because they’re fast and they give me enough time to move onto more complex recipes in the kitchen. If you try this dish out, please share your thoughts with me in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!