Bronzed Halloumi and Tomato Salad

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by Susan Hanna

This wonderful salad from Tara O’Brady of Seven Spoons, which appeared in the Globe and Mail, takes full advantage of tomato and zucchini season. Toast bread for croutons and roast lemon for the dressing and garnish. Combine the lemon juice with basil, parsley (or other fresh herbs), vinegar, honey and chili flakes, fry the halloumi (a semi-hard, unripened brined cheese that can be fried without melting), dress the tomatoes and zucchini and combine for a delicious summer meal.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used an Ace bakery baguette and Eden Organic red wine vinegar (instead of white). Check the halloumi and chili flakes to make sure they are additive-free. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For A Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds (680 g) assorted heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • Medium-grained kosher salt, as needed
  • ½ loaf rustic French bread, about 8 ounces (227 g), torn
  • ½ cup (125 ml) olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons, preferably organic, well scrubbed
  • 8 ounces (227 g) halloumi, sliced
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) basil leaves, loosely packed
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) flat-leafed parsley, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar or honey, if needed
  • Dried chili flakes

Preparation:

  1. Preheat an oven to 425°F (218°C).
  2. Cut the tomatoes into a variety of shapes; small ones can be halved, larger ones cut into slices and wedges. Different cuts will bring texture to the salad. Gently fold the tomatoes with the zucchini in a large bowl, along with a good sprinkling of salt. Tip the tomatoes into a colander then set it over the bowl. Leave aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. Toss the bread with a generous glaze of olive oil, about 2 tablespoons (30 ml). Season with salt and pepper. Scatter pieces on a small baking sheet.
  4. Cut one lemon into thin rounds, removing any seeds; if you have a mandoline (or patience), slices about 1/8-inch (0.32 cm) thick is what you’re aiming for. Slice half of the second, and leave the last half whole. Coat the sliced lemons lightly with olive oil and arrange on another small baking pan or something similar. Place the half lemon alongside.
  5. Place both sheet pans in the hot oven. Toast the bread until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes, tossing once. Roast the lemon until touched with char and deeply caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes. When you open the oven to shuffle the bread, carefully remove the lemon half, using tongs. Set the lemon half aside to cool for a few minutes.
  6. While the croutons and lemons are still in the oven, set a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or a heavy nonstick one over medium-high heat. Without adding any oil, dry fry the halloumi until deeply coloured, about 1 minute each side. Work in batches as necessary. Arrange the slices on a serving dish.
  7. Make the dressing by squeezing the juice from the roasted lemon into the carafe of an upright blender. Tear in the basil and parsley, then add a splash of vinegar, and 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then puree. Taste, adjust seasoning and balance with more oil or vinegar as called for, and sweeten with sugar or honey if it’s too sharp. Run the machine again, then add a pinch of chili flakes.
  8. Once the bread and lemon slices are sufficiently tanned, build the salad atop the halloumi. First arrange the tomatoes and zucchini, followed by the croutons and lemons. Top with dressing, offering more at the table. Eat immediately. Serves 4-6.

From Tara O’Brady in the Globe and Mail