What’s For Dinner?
Last Resort Grill's Orzo With Fried Capers
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
From the Menu of ... Last Resort Grill, 174-184 W. Clayton St., Athens, 706-549-0810
Q: My husband and I took a day trip to Athens and enjoyed a delicious meal at the Last Resort. My meal was particularly heavenly. It was an orzo pasta with finely chopped kalamata olives, roma tomatoes, red onions, pepperoncinis, roasted capers, feta cheese and topped with a light olive oil and garlic sauce. I attempted to replicate the recipe this past weekend -- to no avail. It was just not the same. I would love to add the recipe to my list of favorites. -- Marcia Foshee-Duffy, Dunwoody
A: You can make a pretty good replication of this dish at home, but it’s true that it won’t quite be the same without fresh orzo. Last Resort gets its supply from Pasta Mami in Smyrna, which, although it does not sell directly to the public, does sell fresh pastas to E. 48th St. Market in Dunwoody (770-392-1499; please call ahead to place your order, the shop’s management requests).
Back at Last Resort, sous chef Robert Blackburn flash-cooks the orzo in rapidly boiling water and then tosses it with a medley of Mediterranean favorites. “It definitely packs a punch to the palate,” said assistant manager Matt Myers. “There’s really nothing else like it in town.” -- Deborah Geering,
for the Journal-Constitution
Hands on time: 15 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Serves: 2
4 ounces dry orzo or 10 ounces fresh
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
10 to 12 pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons crumbled feta
2 tablespoons chopped pepperoncini
2 tablespoons fried capers (see recipe below)
FOR FRIED CAPERS:
Hands on: 2 minutes Total time: 4 minutes
2 tablespoons drained capers
Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the dry orzo and cook to al dente; drain and set aside. (If using fresh orzo, do not add it to the boiling water until after the tomatoes are in the pan, below.)
Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Sauté the onion and olives. When the onion is soft, add the garlic and immediately deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the tomatoes and toss to heat through. Add the drained pasta and stir. Cook 1 minute or 2 to allow the pasta to absorb any excess liquid. Divide among 2 plates and top each serving with a tablespoon each of feta, chopped pepperoncini and Fried Capers.
FOR THE CAPERS:
Spread the capers on a paper towel to drain while the oil heats. In a small pan, heat 1/4 inch oil. When it’s very hot, add the drained capers. Cook until the buds open and capers are crispy, 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on size). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Per serving (capers): 63 calories (percent of calories from fat, 100), no protein, no carbohydrates, no fiber, 7 grams fat (trace saturated), no cholesterol, 78 milligrams sodium.