I discovered a few ways to get my boys to like salad: add meat when possible, and deconstruct a favourite dinner into something that can rest atop of bed of greens. Sooner or later they learn to like it, or at the very least accept it, because, goodness, eating salad does not come naturally to my growing my boys.
The appeal of this dish is that it includes a small amount of everything they love: pasta, sausage, shrimp, and a touch of smoky flavour. It also includes the stuff I love for them: romaine, peas, green onion, red pepper, and cherry tomatoes. This salad is impressive enough to serve to guests – I would add an egg and potato torta, fresh bread and a glass of sangria, like in the photo above – and packs up nicely for the next day’s lunch.
Adapted from Salad for Dinner
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 ¼ cups orzo pasta
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 ¾ cups chicken stock
- ¾ cups frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped peeled, deveined shrimp, cut into ½” pieces
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup diced sweet red pepper
- ¾ cup diced dry-cured chorizo
- 1 head romaine lettuce, leaves separates, cleaned, dried and cut crosswise into strips
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the orzo and stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and turmeric and stir until fragrant. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the orzo is tender and the broth is completely absorbed, about 12 minutes. In the last minute of cooking add the peas to the pot. Remove from the heat, cover, and cool completely.
2. While the orzo cooks, heat one tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and add the shrimp. Season with the paprika and a pinch of salt, and cook until the shrimp is opaque, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate, add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet along with the sausage and red pepper, and cook until the pepper is soft, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir the shrimp, sausage and peppers into the pot with the orzo, taking care to include all of the pan drippings and seasoned oil. Scatter the romaine over a serving platter and top with the orzo mixture. Garnish with the green onion, parsley and cherry tomatoes.
4. Drizzle the sherry vinegar and remaining tablespoon of oil over the salad and season with fresh ground pepper.