Wednesday, March 5, 2008

CSA week 14 - warm green bean tomato and feta salad

I had other plans for the green beans but I noticed a program listing with this recipe while scrolling through the cable guide yesterday so you can thank this morning's episode of Sarah's Secrets for this dish. I was surprised to discover Sarah Moulton airing at all on the Food Channel, even as a Wednesday morning rerun. I thought she had been banished along with Mario to give Rachel Ray and Paula Dean more airtime.

Here's her version with all the right ratios of ingredients. I didn't catch everything as they flashed up on the screen so mine turned out a bit differently. Mainly I misread 1 1/4 pounds of green beans as 1 3/4 pounds so my scaled down version is significantly beanier than the original. Also, I threw in a couple handfuls of shredded leftover roast chicken. Beyond that, I used the cherry tomatoes halved instead of chopped larger tomatoes, used red wine vinegar instead of white and garnished with fresh oregano.

But that's not enough tweaking that I feel entirely comfortable plagiarizing the recipe here. Just follow the link if you like the looks of the pictures.

EDIT: Well that was a pretty anemic post. I should have waited until this morning instead of trying to get it up just before heading to bed. I neglected to mention how the dish actually tasted. Pretty good, actually. The tomatoes cooked down into the base of a sauce enriched by the slightly melted feta. I've had orzo salads before where the cheese completely melted to create a gloppy mess with an unpleasant mouth feel. The nearly intact feta worked better as the beans, cheese, tomatoes and chicken each retained their individual character without being drowned by an overwhelming sauce.

One final thought: if you're going to try this dish (and why wouldn't you?), undercook the green beans a little at the start as they'll cook a little more waiting in the pan for the orzo to finish and you want them to retain some crispness. Also, I think adding beef or lamb would work better than chicken if you're going to add meat.

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