Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

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Drum roll please… the very first seafood post here on Brown Eyed Baker! You may remember that back in February I found out that I had “outgrown” all of the food allergies I was diagnosed with five years earlier. One of those allergies was all members of the seafood and shellfish families. Since finding out I was no longer allergic, I began exploring all of the possibilities that seafood had to offer. I started with baked shrimp scampi, then tried salmon, enjoyed some cheesy crab dips, and am now even head over heels for sushi (okay, I admit, I only tried the raw stuff once – not bad! – but am in love with shrimp tempura rolls). In looking for some new ideas for dinner I turned to my cookbook stash and found this gem.

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This dish falls into the “Salads” category of the cookbook, but I found it to be an excellent choice for a fresh and light summer dinner. The recipe is very simple and relatively quick to pull together, and can be made even quicker if you use frozen, cooked shrimp. I like buying the bags of frozen cooked shrimp and thawing as much as I want to use at one time. If you go this route, then you can completely skip the roasting step since the shrimp is already cooked. Just thaw the shrimp according to the package directions and add it to the orzo when the recipe calls for the roasted shrimp to be mixed in. So fast and easy!

1 Year Ago: Classic White Bread

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
Olive oil
¾ lb. (12 ounces) orzo
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and medium-diced
½ cup small-diced red onion
¾ lb. (12 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled or large-diced

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and a splash of olive oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl.

3. Whisk together the lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

4. Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out on a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

5. Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully.

6. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.