Halloumi Salad

I could eat salad every day. Something about the combination of different textures and flavors, all dressed with a good, homemade dressing just grabs my palate.

    But you can fall into a rut, and we do. It’s so easy to use tender green leaf lettuce and cut up an apple and crumble some blue cheese and throw on toasted almonds. Not that it isn’t good because it is, especially when there’s a tiny touch of Dijon mustard int he dressing, and maybe we pick up a fennel and slice a little of that in there, you know, if we’re feeling flush.

Sometimes I have to break out of the box and make myself go find another salad. Explore new green avenues. The spinach salad in the prevoius posting, for instance. And this little paradigm-shifting fried cheese salad.

    We ate a lot of halloumi cheese in England. Vegetarians like it because you can grill and fry it, and there are a lot of vegetarians in England. The low milk fat, high protein profile causes haloumi to cook rather than melt. Fry it like a patty, serve it on a bun. Stuff it into portobellos. Top a salad with it. We were so sorry that we couldn’t  find it here. Big Fella was told that’s because one company controlled the distribution for this part of the country and they preferred to sell halloumi in industrial amounts rather than consumer-size packages.

Lately, we’ve been spotting it in a Middle Eastern market on Nolensville Road. Two very similar recipes on recipezaar.com pointed in the same general direction: a warm caper vinaigrette. The recipe is from Delia Smith, who is sort of the Julia Child of England. Or maybe more the Marian Cunningham. Solid, dependable, unflashy but innovative. I like that in a recipe as much as in a person.

Fried Halloumi with Caper Vinaigrette Over Salad

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tabelspoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons capers
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 block halloumi (it’s usually around 8 to 10 ounces)
Flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Oil for frying (just a little)

Whisk or shake the dressing ingredients to blend. Pat the cheese dry and slice into 8 slices. Coat the slices with a little flour and fry in just little oil until go