Greek cuisine, as part of the Mediterranean diet, is often touted for its generous and healthy use of flavor-inducing herbs, vegetables and olive oil — something we took into account when creating this meal. Most Americans might also associate it with the ubiquitous Greek salad, now available on most diner menus. A traditional salad in Greece, however, isn't usually made with lettuce and is really just a mixture of leftover vegetables and ingredients that home cooks have on hand.
For our twist on this traditional salad, we encourage you to try adding diced green or red peppers, basil, other vegetables or herbs and a variety of different olives. And in the late summer months when tomatoes are in season, feel free to use an assortment of heirloom tomatoes.
While we prefer English and Kirby cucumbers for their thin skin and barely noticeable seeds, you can always peel the skin off of the supermarket variety for a smoother salad. And please don't be discouraged by the amount of garlic in both recipes (if you're not a garlic fiend), we promise that it marries beautifully with the oregano and lemon in the dressing and is barely detectable in the finished roasted dish, simply adding flavor and depth.
When preparing the meal, begin with the Cornish hens (young chickens). After putting them in the oven, you will have a good amount of time to prepare the salad and the orzo, which you can do right away or wait. We suggest taking a little time to set the table, open the wine or just relax on the couch. Then, start boiling the water for the orzo about 15 to 20 minutes before the chicken is finished, so that they are both ready around the same time, and prepare the salad.
To serve, please make sure to generously spoon the silky pan juices over the orzo, the tender, roasted chicken and the soft, lemon-soaked potatoes.
We hope you enjoy the meal and that you share your thoughts or any variations (or improvements) you made!