Friday, August 31, 2007

Warm Salad of Seasoned Grilled Halloumi and Victoria Plums

Whenever I try to explain the texture of halloumi to someone who's never tasted it before, more often than not, I get a puzzled look. Squeaky cheese? I must admit that when I first heard about halloumi, I also wasn't that enthusiastic about trying it- but like a true gourmet, I didn't hesitate to buy some when it first became available here. Now it's become one of my favorite cheeses! There are so many ways to serve it and so many flavors you can pair it with. Plus...what's better than a slice of grilled cheese?

A visit to the produce stall at the market last Wednesday inspired me to make a gorgeous, warm salad using victoria plums and halloumi. The halloumi was first drenched in a dressing before being grilled. The dressing consisted of good olive oil, lemon juice and one of my favorite spice mixes- Bed of Roses, which includes saffron, ginger, cumin, roasted garlic and rose petals. Both the halloumi and the plums are grilled in this salad. Just before serving, the dish is sprinkled with tiny mint leaves and finished off with a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of fleur de sel. For maximun enjoyment, each forkful should contain a little cheese, a bit of the warm fruit and perhaps a little mint leaf.

Here's the recipe:

Warm Salad of Seasoned Grilled Halloumi and Victoria Plums

*3 victoria plums
*3 slices halloumi of about 40g each
*1 tbsp good-quality olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
*2 tsps lemon juice
*1 tsp Bed of Roses
*mint leaves and fleur de sel to serve

Whisk oil, lemon juice and spice mix and transfer to a shallow bowl. Dip the halloumi slices in the dressing and let stand for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile cut the plums in half and remove the stones. Heat up your grill pan and grill the halloumi slices 2-3 minutes per side. When you flip them over, also add the plums to the pan, cut side down. Serve the grilled cheese and fruit on warmed plates with a scattering of mint leaves, a little oil and some fleur de sel.

Serves 2-3 as an appetizer.