Fried Halloumi Salad
Everyone knows the classic Greek salad, one of the best salads of the Mediterranean. Well, this is a variation on the theme, which, with its hot, salty fried cheese, becomes a light main course in itself. The majority of the salad ingredients can be assembled (but not tossed into the dressing) an hour or two ahead, and then covered and stored in the fridge until 15 minutes before serving, but don’t fry the cheese until the last minute.
|175g (6oz)||cherry tomatoes, halved|
|1||cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and cut in thick half moons|
|8||quail’s eggs, boiled, shelled and halved (optional)|
|1||red pepper, grilled, skinned, seeded and cut into strips|
|1||green pepper, grilled, skinned, seeded and cut into strips|
|250g (9oz)||halloumi or kefalotyri cheese|
|2 tbsp||extra-virgin olive oil|
|For the dressing:|
|3 tbsp||extra-virgin olive oil|
|Juice of ½ large lemon|
|2 tsp||rigani or dried oregano|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
Thickly shred the cos lettuce and place it in a wide, shallow bowl. Arrange the tomatoes, olives, cucumber, quails’ eggs (if using) and skinned peppers over it. Cover with cling film and keep cool for up to 2 hours. Bring back to room temperature before finishing the salad.
To make the dressing whisk the oil with the lemon juice, rigani or oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside until needed.
Shortly before serving drain the halloumi or kefalotyri and cut it into 1cm (½in) wide batons. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over a high heat. Fry the cheese briskly until browned on all sides and, as soon as it is done, lay it on the salad. Quickly whisk the dressing one last time and then spoon over the cheese and the salad. Toss at the table and serve quickly while the fried cheese is still warm.
Just in case you need a reminder, a straight Greek salad is made with chunks of juicy, ripe tomato, thick, peeled cucumber crescents, thinly sliced rings of onion, sometimes with the addition of shredded cos lettuce and rings of green pepper. On top sits a fíne slab of feta cheese, sprinkled with dried oregano. The whole salad is dotted with crinkly black olives, and dressed with good olive oil, wine vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper.