September Cooking Club Part 2: Mediterranean Halloumi Salad September 7, 2010Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in cooking club, salad, vegetarian.
Tags: beets, halloumi, salad, sumac
For my other contribution to last week’s cooking club (the first was the Pomegranate Mint Gin Fizz), I made a Mediterranean salad using grilled halloumi, homemade sumac pita chips, roasted beets, pistachios, finished with a homemade lemon mint vinaigrette. I was really happy with everything–the pita chips were crunchy and tangy from the sumac (sumac is a spice typically used Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a tart flavor and a deep red color, and is the key ingredient in fattoush salad dressing. The chips are a great snack by themselves, and a really good way to use up some pita that is slightly past it’s prime), and the vinaigrette will definitely be a regular around our house. And grilled halloumi is always good. (Check out this halloumi salad recipe for another Allen household staple.)
There are a lot of steps below but they are all easy, and involve plenty of hands-off time. I made a bunch of each ingredient, kept them in separate containers, and had enough for several lunches as well as our cooking club dinner. And everything can be made ahead of time and stored for a couple of days. Even the halloumi, though it’s best straight from the grill!
Mediterranean Halloumi Salad
5 oz herb spring mix (or other mixed greens)
3 medium beets, roasted
8 oz halloumi cheese, grilled
1/4 cup pistachios
Baked pita chips with sumac (ingredients: pita bread, olive oil, sumac, salt, and pepper)
Lemon mint vinaigrette (recipe below)
The order I would recommend making the ingredients is: roast the beets, make the salad dressing and prep the pita while the beets are roasting, bake the pita chips while the beets are cooling, and grill the halloumi right before serving.
To roast the beets: Pre-heat your oven to 450. Wash the beets, and wrap each one up individually in an aluminum foil packet with a teaspoon of olive oil drizzled on top. Roast the beets in their little packets in the oven for about 50 minutes. You should be able to stick a fork in them when they are done. They will be HOT when you take them out. Let them cool a little (I rinsed mine under cool water to speed this up), cut each in half, and then slip the skins off. They should come off fairly easily in your hands. Cut into small matchsticks or dice and set aside.
To make the pita chips: Rip your pita bread into pieces (bite-sized or slightly bigger) and place in a large bowl. Pour some olive oil on top, sprinkle with liberal amounts of spices (I used sumac, salt, and pepper), and stir the bread to make sure the oil and spice are distributed evenly. I find this works best if you just use your (clean :)) hands to mix it up. A spoon just didn’t cut it for me. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes–the time window between perfectly crispy and burnt is small, so you kind of have to keep an eye on them. I usually shake or stir mine halfway through cooking. Cool, and eat!
Grill your halloumi on a grill pan, in a skillet, or on the outdoor grill on some foil. Assemble the salad using your ingredients, and enjoy!
Lemon Mint Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, shake to mix thoroughly, and store in an air-tight container until ready to use.