Our parents have a lovely marriage. They have been married for over 50 years and are still wonderful partners in love, family and of course, the kitchen. Sure, they argue once in a while (usually because our father has left the house without, what our mother deems to be, a warm enough jacket) but they are respectful, kind and considerate of one another. It is really heart-warming to see, and throughout our lives, they have served as great role-models for love.
Great unions such as theirs bring to mind other partnerships, like this citrus salad with fried halloumi. Growing up, our parents often served fried halloumi for breakfast, with a couple of fried eggs and some toast. They would also cook some up when we had guests over for a quick visit. Along with olives, nuts and bread, the fried cheese was great for impromptu visitors or to tide everyone over until dinner. Here, we’ve taken the fried halloumi, introduced to us by our parents, and married it with a lovely, fresh citrusy salad in a Mia Kouppa meets Our Kouppes creation. We hope you enjoy every part of it :).
Coincidentally (not really) this week is Tyrini week, the last week of Carnival in Greece before fasting for Greek Orthodox Pascha (Easter) begins. Many people abstain from eating meat this week, but eggs and dairy are permitted (so is fish, oil and wine, by the way). In keeping with this tradition and practice, we will focus on sharing recipes loaded with cheese this week, before beginning our series of new lenten (vegan) recipes.
Halloumi is Cypriot unripened cheese made from a combination of goat and sheep’s milk and sometime’s cow’s milk. It has a few qualities which make it particularly wonderful. First, it has a very high melting point, meaning that it can be grilled and fried very easily; the cheese melts, but still retains its shape. The possibilities, as you can imagine, are endless and include halloumi saganaki and amazing grilled cheese sandwiches! Second, halloumi is quite salty. For this reason, we mention that the salt in the salad dressing recipe which follows is optional; we do not add the salt given the saltiness of the halloumi, but you can use your discretion.
Once fried, the halloumi should be served immediately. As it sits and cools down it will lose the melty (is melty a word?) quality. Still delicious, but not gooey delicious.
Part of the charm of this simple salad is the colours that are involved. If possible, use either an orange, red or yellow bell pepper; these tend to have a milder taste than the more commonly available green bell peppers and are worth seeking out. Along with the pepper, the carrot that we used in this salad is purple. You may be interested to know that originally, all carrots were purple. Seriously! The purple carrot adds a lovely colour to the salad, but if all you can find are orange carrots, of course this is fine. In fact, it might be better because the orange carrots are indeed tastier. In that case, we suggest that you complement the colour of your carrot with that of your bell pepper. So, if your carrot is orange, maybe your pepper should be red for added pizzazz!
The quantities described below for your vinaigrette will probably be more than you need for this salad. We find that having some homemade vinaigrette in the refrigerator is always a good idea; it will keep for several days and can be used to top another salad, grilled meat or chicken.
Mia Kouppa: Citrus salad with fried halloumi
- 1 medium fennel bulb
- 1 bell pepper, orange
- 1 endive
- 1 large orange
- 1 carrot, (purple if you can find it)
- 4 – 6 slices of halloumi
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil For the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) prepared mustard
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt, optional
- Wash your vegetables and slice the fennel, pepper and endive into julienne (or matchstick like) strips. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Peel your orange using a sharp knife in order to get as much of the white pith off as possible. Then, carefully segment your orange. To do this, you will cut out the orange wedges, placing your knife between the membrane on both sides of the orange wedge. What you should be left with is orange pieces that have little to no membrane on them. Cut each wedge in half, and add to the salad bowl.
- Peel your carrot. Then, using your vegetable peeler, peel strips of carrot and add them to the mixing bowl.
- Prepare your vinaigrette by mixing together all of the dressing ingredients. Add as much vinaigrette as you would like to the salad and toss well. All the vegetables should be coated with vinaigrette. Serve in individual serving dishes.
- Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or frying pan over medium heat. Brush some olive oil on both sides of your halloumi pieces. Add them to the pan and cook until crisp and browned on both sides.
- When your halloumi is ready, place 2 pieces on top of each salad bowl. Enjoy.