It got magically hot here in Victoria in the last week. After months about complaining about cold and damp and having to wear all these sweaters, I was immediately complaining about the beautiful, sunny, lovely weather that I have been hoping for for weeks. It's too hot, I don't have the right clothes for this, I can't sleep. It was a sweltering 23° C yesterday and and I was whining. I did have the perfect meal to go with the wonderful weather though. Light and summery, you only need to turn on the stovetop for a few minutes to grill the cheese, or you can barbecue it if you are careful not to let it drop between the grill bars.
Haloumi is a strange and delightful cheese. If you haven't tried it before, it may sound a bit odd, but don't let that put you off. It's salty and very firm and mild flavoured. It has the magical property of not melting when heated, so you can grill or roast it and it holds its shape and develops a fantastic crispy-toasty exterior. It also squeaks in your teeth when you eat it, which sounds a little weird and rubbery but in a way that is so satisfying. It's hearty and sort of meaty almost and makes a meal out of a light salad.
If you can't find haloumi, feta cheese will work too. It can still be grilled or pan fried, but it's a little more melty than haloumi so it might spread a bit.
watermelon radish and haloumi salad:
- 2-3 watermelon radishes, scrubbed and sliced paper thin
- 3 big handfuls arugula
- pea shoots or microgreens
- a few sprigs parsey, chopped
- 1 package haloumi, sliced into thick blocks
In a lightly oiled grill pan fry the haloumi slices over medium heat until dark grill lines appear and flip. You can also use a regular flat pan, but you won't have the delightful grill lines.
Combine vegetables and lay haloumi slices on top.
adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Drizzle over salad and serve immediately.