TASTE | Deliciousness Of The Week - Haloumi, Pear & Sweet Potato Salad
Having just turned vegetarian (and don't laugh - that seems to be the commonest reaction I've gotten so far for some reason) I've found myself doing a heap more cooking. And juicing. And chopping and peeling and tossing and seasoning. In fact, I'm starting to question whether or not I have actually been possessed by Rachel Ray or something (I know it's not by Nigella - I'm 99% sure that a Nigellasession would involve much less carrot and much more cheesecake).
It's just under two weeks from the start of summer here, so my kitchen is pretty much brimming with cherry tomatoes, lemons, baby spinach, rocket, mushrooms, strawberries, apples, bananas and carrots (SERIOUSLY. SO MANY CARROTS). And, in what I am calling my newly vegetable...tarian...tative state...thing, I am also TOTALLY OBSESSED now with haloumi cheese and all the insanely tasty salads you can make with it.
For people playing at home, haloumi is an awesome greek cheese that is packed to the brim with delicious, salty goodness. It's also surprisingly good for you - because it's lower in fat than regular cheese, is very filling and easy to cook. Plus, it's something tasty that you don't need to cook a heap of in order to a) really enjoy it, and b) feel full. Please to insert the double ticks of Erin approval <HERE>.
In any case, I found this awesome recipe for Haloumi, Pear & Sweet Potato Salad on the Australian Better Homes & Gardens website, which I totally recommend checking out. They have some great recipes, plus a heap of other cool ideas you can check out for your garden, home and family.
Ingredients Recipe feeds one.
200g sweet potato, chopped
1 meduim pair, thinly sliced
Cooking oil spray for baking*
50g haloumi, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of cooked brown rice**
30g baby spinach leaves
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Golden Rule Pre-prepare the salad and cook the haloumi last, adding it only just before you serve. And - if white wine vinegar isn't your thing - something else that makes for a killer haloumi experience is is fresh cut wedges of lemon drizzled over them while they're hot, just before serving.
Pre-heat your oven to 200C (180C if it's fan forced).
Line a big, flat baking tray with baking paper and spray a little cooking oil aross it.
Lay out the chopped sweet potato and thinly sliced pears on it and bake until tender. About 30 minutes should do the trick.
About 5 minutes before your pears & sweet potato are ready to go, grab out a fry pan (or a skillet if you have one - skillets make for an awesome finish on the cheese if a good looking as well as tasty plate of food is your thing) and set it to a high heat.
Lay out your slices of haloumi in the pan/skillet and fry until both sides are a deliciously golden colour.
Toss together the baby spinach; baked pear and sweet potato; quinoa/cous cous/brown rice; white wine vinegar/lemon juice; and the hot haloumi together in a big bowl.
*I've been using Rice Bran Oil instead of regular cooking oil lately and it's pretty good if you feel like trying something different. It has a really subtle flavour and a high smoke point, plus I find I don't have to use a lot of it at all when I cook. It's not nearly as thick on the vegies as olive oil spray, so if you want something that doesn't dominate the taste of your food, I recommend giving it a go. That said, if you want that really beautiful mediterranean taste, you can't beat a good toss in some great olive oil. Each to their own, but I'm discovering finally for myself that it's always good to try different things!
** I can't actually eat rice, but something I don't mind subsituting for it in meals is either quinoa or a small amount of cous cous. I reckon that'd go alright here!
ORIGINAL CREDIT FOR RECIPE & PHOTOGRAPHY:
Website: Better Homes & Gardens - Recipes
Author: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine - February 2013
Stylist: Vanessa Austin, Kristin Buesing, Marie-Hélène Clauzon, Jane Collins, Lisa Featherby, Jane Hann, Trish Heagarty, Sally Parker, Stephanie Souvlis
Photographer: Steve Brown, Chris Chen, Ben Dearnley, Louise Lister, Cath Muscat, Rob Palmer, Jean Paul Urizar, Benito Martin