Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a big proponent of local, seasonal eating, but he approaches this style of eating in a matter that's decidedly unpretentious, with flavors that are bold and accessible. When Fearnley-Whittingstall makes this Fried Halloumi Salad from River Cottage Every Day for himself and his family, you know that he's using really gorgeous homegrown produce—but instead of treating the herbs and veggies with kid gloves, he dresses the salad in a big spicy-sweet vinaigrette and tops them with a salty, oozy slice of fried halloumi, a Cypriot sheep's milk cheese.
The salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and olives is wonderful on its own, full of bright Mediterranean flavors with just the right amount of heat. But, once you put a slice or two of quick-fried halloumi on top, all bets are off—it's almost like a Greek salad gone wild. Dipped in flour spiked with smoked paprika, the cheese has a wonderful crust and a moist, salty center, making it into something that you could easily serve (minus the salad) as an hors d'oeuvre or classier version of mozzarella sticks.
Adapted from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- For the Dressing:
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- A pinch of sea salt
- 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- For the Salad:
- 1 small red onion, very finely sliced
- 1 small cucumber, cut into chunks
- 2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup kalamata or other black olives, pitted
- A large handful of mint leaves, coarsely shredded
- A large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
- For the Halloumi:
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- A large pinch of smoked paprika
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
For the Dressing: Stir together the honey, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt until well combined, then whisk in the oil.
For the Salad: In a large bowl, toss together the onion, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, mint, and parsley.
For the Halloumi: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, paprika, and some salt and pepper. Moisten the halloumi slices slightly with water, if necessary, then press them into the seasoned flour and shake off any excess.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the halloumi slices over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden and slightly soft inside.
Meanwhile, toss the salad vegetables with the dressing, turning them over with your hands to make sure everything is lightly coated.
For Serving: Divide the salad among 4 plates, put 2 pieces of the hot halloumi on each one, and serve immediately.