I have been experimenting with orzo this past year, and every dish I make with it, is better than the last. This little salad is perfect for a pot luck or buffet. And wait until you taste the candied walnuts with the citrus and the blue cheese. Great combo!
1To make the orzo: In medium size sauce pan on medium low heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add the chopped onions and salt and pepper. Cook uncovered to soften the onions, not brown them. After about 5 minutes they will be translucent and ready to accept the orzo. Add the cup of orzo and coat with the buttery onion mixture. Add a bit more salt and pepper as orzo has absolutely no taste. Let the orzo toast a bit (2-3 minutes) and add water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to the lowest simmer and cook 12-13 minutes. The orzo will still be a bit watery, but keep covered off the heat and all the liquid will evaporate.
2While orzo is cooling, candy the walnuts. In large saucepan on medium heat add the sugar and butter. Mix to combine. Now add the nuts and coat them in the sugary liquid. Toast the mixture for about 3 minutes. Just keep an eye on the nuts as they can burn before 3 minutes. Transfer candied nuts to a piece of parchment and separate the the best you can and set them aside to cool.
3To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a medium size jar and shake, or just whisk everything together until it emulsifies.
4To assemble the dish, combine scallions, orange segments, celery and cilantro. Now add your blue cheese and cooled orzo. If I'm making this ahead, I dress the salad with only half the dressing, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Then I dress it again right before serving time. I like the salad served at room temp, but it's still delish served cold. And don't forget to liberally sprinkle those sweet toasted walnuts on top of your salad right before serving. By the way you can make individual lettuce cups with this recipe. they get grabbed up fast tho!