Fennel Frond Orzo
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 Ounce orzo (1 1/2 cups), preferably whole-wheat
- 0.5 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- pitted black olives, such as kalamata, chopped
- Fronds from 1 leafy fennel bulb ( 1/2 cup), finely chopped (see Note)
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 0.5 cup roasted almonds, chopped
- 3 Tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
- Kosher salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 4-by-4-inch, 1-inch-thick slice of country bread, crust removed and bread cubed
- 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.
Notes: You can finely chop the fennel bulb and add it to the orzo as well, if desired.
Recipe Credit: Ann Redding
Image Credit: Con Poulos