I nearly died of excitement when I opened this month’s Gourmet to a recipe section called “Picnic in the Glass.” It features salads that are not just composed but beautifully layered in individual glass jars, an elegant presentation that is also highly portable. The magazine’s editors were inspired by a chic new restaurant in Paris, of course. I had to make one right away and tried the Greek salad with orzo and black-eyed peas that very night.
My usual Greek salad contains neither orzo nor legumes. I was glad to get some chickpeas in this version (no canned black-eyed peas at my grocery store), but I could take or leave the orzo. If you are stuck at work through the month of August with no stylish picnics in sight, this would make a mighty comforting desk lunch.
About the author: Robin Bellinger recently escaped a career in book publishing, which was cutting into her cooking time. Now she's a freelance editor and can bake bread on Tuesday afternoon if she feels like it. She lives in Midtown Manhattan with her husband and blogs about cooking and crafting at home*economics.
- Yield:4; easily halved
- 3/4 cup orzo
- 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large tomato, diced (1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise, cored, and diced (1 cup)
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, slivered
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
- 2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped romaine
- 1/2 pound feta, crumbled (1 cup)
- 4 to 8 peperoncini
Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well.
Toss black-eyed peas, tomato, and parsley with vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Marinate, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss together orzo, remaining tablespoon oil, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon zest and juice, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
Divide black-eyed-pea mixture (with juices) among 4 jars 16-ounce wide jars (or other lidded containers) and layer orzo salad, romaine, and feta on top. Add 1 or 2 peperoncini to each jar.
Gourmet says the assembled jars can be chilled for up to 6 hours, but I stored the components overnight in separate containers and did not think they suffered. Serve at room temperature if possible.