The Breakthrough

I hate picky eaters.

They’re impossible to share with and can’t be relied on for ordering the other item on the menu that you want to try; and I can’t help but think about all the amazing foods that the picky eater is missing out on.

But no matter what, picky eater or not, there are always foods that even the most liberal eater doesn’t like.

For years I’ve had the same handful of foods that I don’t like: sweet potatoes, cherries, beets, cheesecake, and any crumbly stinky cheese (bleu, feta, gorgonzola).

That was until a few weeks ago…

My friend prepared me an authentic Greek feast and knew to keep the feta on the side. I was feeling crazy that night and decided to give the feta a little nibble since it had been years since I’d tried it.

It was salty…. mild…. tasty…. and nothing like I had remembered it.

It must be a fluke.

I tried another bite.

Same reaction.

I had a breakthrough!

And thank goodness I did because some of the best dishes or recipes often call for feta.

Tonight for the first time ever, I made Roasted Shrimp with Orzo, a recipe I had long admired but also avoided due to the feta. The dill makes the dish so light and fresh and the mix of flavors had my husband and our friend raving with every bite. As we relish in the last few days/weeks of warm weather, this is the perfect summer dish to enjoy because of all the refreshing flavors. But this one-bowl meal can truly be appreciated year-round.

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
(Serves 6)

What you need
– Kosher salt*
– Good olive oil
– 3/4 lbs orzo pasta
– 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
– Freshly ground black pepper
– 2 lbs (16-18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
– 1 cup chopped fresh dill
– 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and medium diced
– 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
– 3/4 lbs good feta cheese

What to do:
– Preheat oven to 400°
– Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer 9-11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl.
– Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
– Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes,  until the shrimp are cooked through. Don’t overcook!
– Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well.
– Add the feta and stir carefully.
– Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight.
– If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

*The original recipe calls for a lot more salt than what I added. The feta was salty enough that it did not need a lot of extra salt. You can always add more, rather than take away, so season as needed.

Chopped cucumbers and scallions

Shrimp ready for roasting

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

Ready to eat!

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