Fennel Frond Orzo
- TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4 to 6
Capers, almonds, fennel, scallions and olives are pounded along with vinegar-soaked bread to create the dynamic and delicious sauce for this elegant and lovely orzo salad.
- 8 ounces orzo (1 1/2 cups), preferably whole-wheat
- One 4-by-4-inch, 1-inch-thick slice of country bread, crust removed and bread cubed
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 garlic clove
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Fronds from 1 leafy fennel bulb ( 1/2 cup), finely chopped (see Note)
- 10 pitted black olives, such as kalamata, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small head of radicchio—halved, cored and shredded (4 cups)
- In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the bread in the vinegar. In a small skillet, toast the coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a mortar. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pound with a pestle until a paste forms. One at a time, pound in the capers, almonds, scallions, fennel fronds and olives, until the mixture is chunky. Pound in the soaked bread, then pound in the olive oil, 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Add the dressing and radicchio to the orzo, season with salt and toss well.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.