There are many creative ways to doctor up chilled pasta, and orzo dishes can be versatile no matter the season. This Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Charred Corn Recipe incorporates the bounty of summer with bursting locally-grown heirloom tomatoes and corn. It’s not only packed with flavors but also will become a favorite recipe in your repertoire. No matter whether you need a side dish to bring to a potluck or picnic, this orzo salad is a must.
How to Pick a Perfect Ear of Corn
It can be overwhelming trying to find and pick the perfect corn on the cob to serve at dinner. These helpful hints will ensure you purchase the juiciest and freshest ears of corn.
- Corn husk is bright green.
- The husk is tightly wrapped around the corn.
- The husk is slightly damp.
- The tassel is brown or gold.
- Kernels are plump with no missing spaces.
- There are no signs of soft spots.
A summer salad such as this is best accompanied by seasonal vegetables that will only enhance the dish’s flavors.
Tips for Picking & Storing Tomatoes
Did you know that tomatoes are the most popular home garden vegetable? Using homegrown or local tomatoes can elevate and highlight the natural freshness that this recipe brings forward. Here are some helpful tips for picking fresh tomatoes and extending their lifespan.
- Pick before they are fully red and let them ripen indoors after picking.
- Gently pull the fruit from the vine or use garden scissors to remove them. We recommend our Walnut Garden Scissors.
- Store unripened tomatoes in a large, shallow ceramic dish.
- Do not store them in the fridge or in direct sunlight.
Summer Orzo Salad with Charred Corn & Heirloom Tomatoes
- 1 lb orzo pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions
- 4 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels cut from the cob to include in the salad or enjoy the ears of corn alongside the dish
- 1–2 lbs heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2–4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, grated or diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 fresno chili or jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
- 1 lemon or lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 2 tbsps mayo, or 1 extra tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
- Chopped cilantro or parsley
- Rinse cooked orzo with cold water and chill, adding a little olive oil.
- Heat broiler to high. If including the corn in the salad, coat corn kernels lightly with 1 tsp olive oil, fresh ground pepper and ½ tsp kosher salt. Broil on a baking sheet until charred in a few spots, approximately 3–5 minutes.
- Make the dressing: whisk together olive oil, mayo, citrus juice, scallions, diced chili, vinegar, shallot, ½ tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper. Don’t forget to taste along the way.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine orzo, charred corn, halved tomatoes, chopped herbs and the dressing. Just before serving, garnish with queso fresco and more fresh herbs.
Looking for something to pair with this dish? Remember that fruity wines with high acidity pair exceptionally well with tomato-forward dishes. Three Virginia-made wines to try with this dish, include a Sauvignon Blanc, Fiano or Albarino. Some local suggestions, include: Stone Tower Winery’s 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Barboursville Vineyards’ 2019 Fiano Reserve or Horton Vineyards’ 2017 Albarino.
For more summer recipes, see the other two farm-to-table dishes in our 3 Summer Salad Recipes series, and for even more Virginia recipes that incorporate farm-to-table ingredients, see our Food & Drink page. You’ll also find a wide selection of Virginia wines at The Wine & Country Shop in Ivy. ~
NADIRAH MUHAMMAD is an editorial assistant with Ivy Life & Style Media. She is dedicated to exploring the world through writing and adding eloquence to everyday life.
FRANCESCA BLACK is a freelance content creator who uses her culinary background to explore the best in food and drink in Virginia.
Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant Virginia weddings, are complemented by the Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, VA—a beautiful lifestyle boutique that brings the pages of the magazines to life. The Shop features over 40 Virginia artisans with everything from tailgating essentials and Dubarry attire to locally made foods and award-winning Virginia wines and craft beverages for your next event. Wine & Country covers the grape-growing foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Lynchburg to Leesburg, including points in between like Charlottesville and Middleburg. Ivy Life & Style Media also creates other projects, including CharlottesvilleFamily.com, a collection of local resources including a popular calendar of events, family services guides and features on education, health and family day trips for parents and teachers in Charlottesville, as well as the CharlottesvilleWelcomeBook.com a guide to resources for Charlottesville tourists and newcomers.