Griddled fennel and apricot orzo salad with almonds

4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for griddling
  • Pinch of saffron, steeped in 1 tsp of hot water (optional)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 300g orzo (short-cut pasta)
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 6 apricots, cut in half
  • 30g toasted flaked almonds
  • 10g dill, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 10g mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • Urfa/pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes)
  • Sea salt and black pepper

We love the fragrant flavours in this griddled fennel and apricot orzo salad. It makes the perfect summer supper, and tastes just as delicious chilled for lunch the following day. 

Method

1. First put together the dressing. In a jam jar, add the olive oil, steeped saffron liquid, cinnamon, honey, orange zest and juice, and white wine vinegar. Season heavily and shake well to combine.
2. Put a large saucepan of well-salted water on a high heat. Once boiling, cook the orzo according to packet instructions. When it is cooked, strain through a colander, then run under cold water and drain again, shaking off the excess water. Remove to a bowl, toss with half the dressing and set aside.
3. Put a griddle pan on a medium-high heat and lightly oil the fennel slices. Cook for ten to 12 minutes, turning halfway through, so both sides are charred and tender to the tip of a knife. Do this in batches, putting the cooked fennel on a tray as you go. Repeat the charring process with the apricots, beginning cut-side down.
4. To serve, gently toss the pasta, fennel, apricots and most of the herbs in the rest of the dressing, then top with the almonds and remaining herbs. Finish with a generous sprinkle of pul biber chilli flakes.

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