Yield: Serves 6 to 8
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups dried orzo
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
- 3 cups 1/2-inch-diced eggplant (from a 1-pound eggplant)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, fresh lemon juice, or as needed
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slivers
- 3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers (jarred or homemade)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil
- 4 ounces manouri, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3/4 cup)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Let cool in the refrigerator.
- Toss the eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and place in a colander set over a bowl or in a sink. Put several bowls or plates on top of the eggplant and let drain for at least 30 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. In a heavy 10-inch skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and the canola oil over medium heat. Squeeze the excess liquid from the eggplant, blot with paper towels and toss in a bowl with the flour. In two batches, fry the eggplant until the cubes are crisp and golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the prepared baking sheet. (Add a little extra oil to the pan for the second batch, as needed.)
- In a large bowl, toss the orzo with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the lemon juice and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Fold in the olives, peppers, mint, dill, basil and manouri.
- Taste and adjust for seasoning with additional salt, pepper, lemon juice or olive oil. Just before serving, toss in the fried eggplant.