Sorry about the tongue twister of a recipe title today. You can call it orzo salad to make things easier. That’s what my mom calls the original version, though I now see that it was officially called Orzo and Artichoke Salad. She scanned the yellowed magazine clipping for me a few years ago when I asked for a few of her classic recipes. I think I wanted this one in anticipation of a trip to the beach. It’s great for a picnic because it gets better as it sits and the flavors blend together. I’m sure she would like me to tell you that leaving it in the fridge overnight is best.
This salad is one of the foods so firmly etched in my memory that I can practically taste it, which makes sense since I now see that it was published almost five years before I was born. It’s from the June 1984 issue of Gourmet. When I decided to write about it I didn’t realize that it was celebrating its 30th birthday this month. Talk about a classic.
This recipe reflects the slight changes I’ve made over its comparatively short life in my repertoire. There’s about half the oil and more Dijon. I skipped the egg yolk because I think the dressing tastes brighter when it’s closer to vinegrette than aioli. I also used Genoa salami instead of prosciutto, but it’s excellent with either. There’s a few other things, but I promise it’s still very much the classic I know and love.