But, awesome as Hot Pot is, it can't keep me from my blog forever! The JCC had one of it's random farmers' markets today, so I have INSPIRATION. Of course, they never really advertise these markets, which only happen every three months or so, so I'm always caught without cash and bags. Too bad, because it's been a long time since I could walk to a farmers' market. I decided to focus the limited resources in my wallet on some smoked salmon, one package cold smoked lemon pepper and one brick hot smoked cracked pepper. My mind is reeling with all the fun stuff I'm going to do with them, but for tonight I made a tried and true recipe I invented years ago, my famous Salmon and Vegetable Orzo. The recipe is very simple and lets the flavors of all the ingredients really sing. It's a great way to showcase quality salmon and veggies. Sweet, ripe tomatoes and fresh spinach perfectly compliment the smoky salmon and mild bocconcini.
Salmon & Vegetable Orzo
4 oz. orzo pasta
half a small or medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2-3 very large handfuls fresh baby spinach
Salt & pepper to taste
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes (I like Sweet 100s), halved
2-3 T chopped black olives
4 oz. cooked salmon (I love the smoky, salty flavor of hot smoked salmon in this, but you can use any cooked salmon), loosely shredded with a fork (the pieces will break down further as you stir it all together, so don't make the shreds too small)
half a dozen or so bocconcini fresh mozzarella balls (I like the marinated ones for this so I can use the oil, but you can use ones packed in water), quartered
2 T shredded parmesan
1/2-1 T oil from the marinated bocconcini, or olive oil
Cook orzo in salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, preheat skillet sprayed with Pam to medium heat. Sauté onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add spinach and continue to sauté. Add fresh ground salt and pepper as the spinach wilts. After spinach has wilted most of the way, add tomatoes, olives, and salmon. Heat until just hot. Add drained orzo, bocconcini, parmesan, and oil. Toss over heat until bocconcini begins to melt. Salt and pepper to taste.