I’m not sure which ingredient is the star here – the Halloumi cheese or this dressing made primarly of processed Kalamata olives? The Kalamata olive is best known as topping the famous Greek or Horiatiki salad. The Halloumi cheese, born in Cyprus, enjoyed equally throughout the Middle East and gaining new fans around the world. Table by table.
Let’s talk about the dressing, I first saw this dressing at Kalyn’s Kitchen a few years ago and I’ve enjoyed serving this in many variations. Today I combined Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh thyme from the garden, Greek extra-virgin olive oil and a couple of grilled scallions for a hint of smoky flavour.
The gas grill was flicked on tonight so in keeping with the same theme, the Halloumi cheese also made contact with the white hot grill. Well-brushed, the grill seared the cheese, just slightly softening it and offering a warm cheese topping to this very flavourful salad. The greens in this dish were Romaine lettuce, another Spring offering that goes well with scallions and some halved cherry tomatoes, the sweetness in the salad.
Grilled Halloumi Salad With a Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette
8-10 Romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed, patted dry and hand torn
8-10 Kalamata olives, pitted
2 sun-dried tomatoes
2 scallions, grilled
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. of fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/3 extra-virgin olive oil
splash of red wine vinegar
2-3 Halloumi cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- Using the side of your chef’s knife, press down on the olives and remove the pits. Place the olives in your food processor along with the sun-dried tomatoes, the mustard, thyme and set aside.
- In the meantime, pre-heat your grill. Ensure the grill surface is brushed of any residue and treating with a wiping of some vegetable (so nothing sticks). Place your scallions on the grill and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until slightly charred. Remove the root and end (charred) part of the scallions, roughly chop and add into your food processor. Process until amalgamated and slowly add your olive oil until the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning, add some fresh ground pepper, a splash of red wine vinegar and set aside.
- Place your slices of Halloumi cheese on your hot grill. Sear for a minute or two on each side. Remove from your grill.
- Toss the Kalamata vinaigrette with you Romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes and serve on a platter. Top with your grilled and still warm Halloumi cheese.
- Serve with some crusty bread and a Nefeli Xynisteri white from Cyprus.
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