Do you like fusion cuisine? Merriam-Webster has two applicable definitions for the word fusion as it applies to food. The first: a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole. The second: food prepared using techniques and ingredients of two or more ethnic or regional cuisines. Some fusion dishes are premeditated. There is an obvious desire to mix and match ingredients and flavors, which leads to Mexitalian, Euro-Asian, Tex-Mex, Euro-African, Pan-Mediterranean, etc. There are some who would argue that California cuisine is actually the first of the fusion fares, which is an interesting way to position the combination of the area’s many cultures with fresh, local ingredients. On the other hand, if fusion is not premeditated, It is a result precipitated by innovation and plain ‘ol ‘What would happen if…?’. If there happens to be a variety of elements on hand that you choose to eat in combination, you can create your own fusion. The question is, where is the line between fusion and culinary confusion?
Orzo’s Italian, olives, lemon and dill are distinctly marked by Greek tradition, and queso fresco is one of the most popular cheese you’ll find in Mexican food. What happens when you mix them all together? You get a meal in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Oh, and it’s some sort of Grexicantalian fusion dish too. There are too many odd ways we could’ve combined those three cultures into one word, but that would’ve taken away from time devoted to eating the final product. No confusion here, kids. The queso fresco did a bang up job in place of the feta or goat cheese you’d typically find in a similar dish. It is not a super melty cheese, but if you serve this hot, it will start to seep into the nooks and crannies of each bite. You will be pleased.
Perhaps you have your own fusion favorite to share?
Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchini and Queso Fresco - Serves 6 to 8
1 pound orzo
2 zucchini, halved and sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
6 ounces large black olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Swirl a bit of olive oil in a wide pan. When hot, add garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and olives. Toss well. Cook until softened, approximately 5-7 minutes.
3. Add orzo to pan, along with lemon juice. Fold everything together to combine.
4. Stir in cheese and salt to taste.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.