September 10, 2010

Strawberry Salad with Halloumi

Of all the days of the week, I think Fridays are my favourite cooking days. I cook something every day, but during the week it is often rushed, and not as enjoyable as it can be when I can take my time to really embrace the whole process. I love buying fresh produce, loading my kitchen benchtop with the ingredients I'm going to use, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.

What I love about making salads is that I'm using the fresh colourful ingredients, and I think Damien Pignolet said it so well in his latest book: "Composing any dish (...) calls for understanding of what constitutes balance". Pignolet refers cooking to composing classical music, because "the instruments employed by a cook in creating a dish are the chosen raw material woven into balance as governed by our sense of taste."

This particular salad is not by Pignolet, although I am sure to cook many recipes from his wonderful new book Salades. What I love about this strawberry salad is that it incorporates the salty chewy halloumi with the sweet strawberries. It's work of a genius (actually by Jamie Oliver), and I can definitely sense the balance of flavours Pignolet was refering to.

Strawberry Salad with Haloumi
(Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver)

300g strawberries, hulled and cut in half or quartered
balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
250g halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
a small handful of mint leaves
a handful of mixed salad leaves

In a bowl, drizzle the strawberries with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and pan fry the halloumi slices on both sides until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes per side should do).

Combine the salad leaves and the mint with the balsamic strawberries and toss well to combine. Place the halloumi slices on plates, top with some salad and strawberries and drizzle with the remaining dressing.

Have a Lovely Weekend!