Fresh Corn, Orzo, and Smoked Chicken Salad with Pine Nuts

Mom’s favorite salad!orzo salad


Serves 6 to 8

3/4  t. red pepper flakes
½ c. seasoned rice vinegar
2 T. light corn syrup
2 bay leaves
3 T. lime juice
¼ lbs dry orzo pasta
2 T. olive oil
¾ lbs. julienned smoked chicken (or you can use a supermarket already roasted chicken . . . also good with shrimp!)
2 ½ c. fresh raw white or yellow corn kernels
1/3 c. minced fresh basil
½ c. minced scallions, white and pale-green parts
½ c. julienned and blanched red bell pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ c. toasted pine nuts

Garnish:  basil sprigs and lime wedges

Dressing:  Combine the chile flakes, vinegar, corn syrup, bay leaves, and lime juice in a small saucepan..  Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.

In a pot of lightly salted, boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain and run cold water over the orzo to stop the cooking.  Drain, scoop into a large bowl, and toss with the olive oil.

Then add the dressing and lightly toss to combine.  Add the smoked chicken dressing, corn, basil, scallions, and red pepper.  Lightly toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for 2 hours.

Serve the salad sprinkled with pine nuts and garnished with basil springs and lime wedges.

John Ash:  From the Earth to the Table

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