Monday, May 18, 2009

The perfect salad

A couple of years ago, I posted something about what wonderfully scrumptious entrees salads can be, especially as the warmer weather approaches (not tonight though, what with the frost advisory and all...). For lunch today, I think I stumbled on what might be the perfect salad combination- fresh, bright, flavorful, hearty, healthy, and doesn't make me feel like a bunny who just chomped through a cabbage patch. It's actually inspired by the Cyprus Salad at Zingerman's and starts with our favorite salad cheese, halloumi, a pungent, salty Cypriot cheese that becomes all gooey and squeaky when you pan-fry it.

Salad ingredients:
- One package of halloumi (just under half a pound is usually enough for Jude and I- it's a hearty cheese...). We buy ours either from the Middle Eastern markets or Whole Foods.
- Salad leaves (we like a mixture of romaine and arugula)
- 2 fresh tomatoes (vine-ripen or heirloom if available)
- Handful of pitted Kalamata olives, 5 or 6 per person (ours is brined in water and olive oil)
- Slices of red onions or chopped green onions

Dressing:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
A squirt of honey (I know, I try to be exact in my recipes...)
Lemon zest (don't leave out!)

1. Slice halloumi into about 1/2 inch slices. Dry excess moisture. Heat non-stick pan to medium heat.
2. As pan is heating, assemble salad and dressing (except lemon zest) separately.
3. Pan-fry halloumi in oil-less pan. Don't worry about the moisture that will start bubbling; it'll evaporate and you'll get a lovely toasty exterior- about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side and just a couple of minutes on the other. Don't let it burn or the halloumi will get tough.
4. Just before the halloumi is ready, dress the salad. Plate the halloumi on the salad, and sprinkle lemon zest over.
5. Serve with a chunk of good bread and smidgen of butter (Plugrá preferably...)

I've made halloumi salads many times before (see picture here with mangoes and mesclun) but I think today's combination of the olives, lemon zest, and Greek dressing went especially well with the punchy saltiness of the cheese. And it really filled us up till the evening. Testimony to how yummy it was- I forgot to take a photo... :)

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Mmmmm- halloumi!!

I must try your halloumi, mangoes, and mesclun recipe.

I'm hungry.