Hello and welcome to the first of what should be many Two Aprons food blog posts!! I’ve been wanting to do this for many years, so there are lots of ideas stored up. Yet still I’m at a loss for where to start for this first post. It will forever be remembered as “my first post” (even if it’s only me doing the remembering) so it’s gotta be something good. Sweet or savory? Old or new? Something borrowed or something blue? I digress.
I aim to cook seasonally, (reasonably) healthy and avoid processed foods. I try to keep it simple as well – not too many fussy ingredients; recipes that can be easily adapted to what’s available and different tastes…particularly fussy kids. This has been a beautiful summer (and as of today, officially autumn) in London, plenty sunny and warm, so I’ve been avoiding the oven and spending too much time in my basement kitchen. Dinners have been heavy on the salads. This one in particular has been a favorite of my family as well as at the Summer Salad cooking class I taught a few months ago. I love it because it’s quick, uses just a few ingredients and can be a meal in itself, but also presents beautifully for entertaining, particularly as a side dish for a BBQ.
The flavors are fantastically fresh and vibrant. Sweet cantaloupe contrasts with salty halloumi and peppery rocket, then it’s all dressed up with fresh mint and zesty lime. One thing I particularly love about this recipe is the technique for roasting garlic on the stove. Though it doesn’t get quite get the same gooeyness that comes with slow-roasting in the oven, it has a big advantage of only taking about 10 minutes…. and it’s pretty darn close to the oven version. Use smaller or medium size garlic cloves as the larger cloves won’t get as soft. Serve the salad with a crusty baguette to smear with roasted garlic. Yum!
The garlic is delicious and all, but the star of this salad has got to be the halloumi. Halloumi is a firm, salty Mediterranean cheese that has a high melting point so is great for grilling. If you haven’t had it, run – don’t walk – and try it, you’ll be hooked. The only time I’d ever eaten it in the States was in Greek restaurants, flamed as saganaki (Opa!!!). My kids call it squeaky cheese since it often squeaks when you chew it. As it’s quite salty, don’t overdo the salt when seasoning this salad. If not available in your local supermarket, try finding halloumi in a Middle Eastern grocery store or substitute ricotta salata.
Happy eating. More recipes should be arriving shortly!! Thanks for reading.
Melon and Halloumi Salad (4 main course servings)
2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
12 garlic cloves, still in skin, crushed
250 grams (9 ounces) halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
70 grams (about 3 cups) rocket/arugula leaves
Juice and zest of 1-2 limes
Salt and pepper
1/2 cantaloupe melon, cut into half-wedges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Add halloumi and grill 2 minutes on each side until golden.
While halloumi is grilling, toss rocket in a large bowl with lime zest, lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange salad on a large, shallow serving platter. Arrange the garlic, halloumi and melon on the rocket. Sprinkle with fresh mint. Serve immediately while the halloumi is still warm with crusty bread (spread the roasted garlic on the bread – yum!).
Adapted from Abel & Cole