Halloumi advertises itself as the cheese that grills, and man, does it grill. Sliced and briefly seared, it browns and crisps on the surface and gets soft and squeaky in the center. And while it's great on its own, it's better when matched up with cucumbers and anise-y fennel seeds and tarragon leaves.
What Worked: The cooling and licoricey notes of this salad set of the saltiness of the Halloumi in a way that's really quite wonderful.
What Didn't: All clear, nothing to change here.
Suggested Tweaks: We could easily see tossing a few slices of honeydew or watermelon into this salad for a bit of complementary sweetness.
Read more: Cook the Book: 'Ripe'
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices Halloumi cheese, blotted dry
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 1/2 medium garlic clove, smashed and minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 English cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh tarragon leaves
In a small, dry nonstick skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat, shaking the skillet a few times, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small dish. Crank the heat to medium high, add the Halloumi, and brown on both sides, turning once, about 4 minutes total. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the oil, vinegar, and garlic in a medium serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Run a small spoon (a serrated grapefruit spoon works well) along the length of each cucumber half, making a tunnel and scraping out the seedless membrane. Slice the cucumber into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Add to the vinaigrette along with the tarragon and toasted fennel seeds. Tear the cheese into irregular pieces and toss on top.
Toss gently to coat. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve immediately.