This salad is salty but sweet, exotic yet easy to make, and the flavour combinations perfectly bridge the gap between the seasons.
The star ingredient here is halloumi, a semi-firm brined Cypriot cheese made of a blend of goat, sheep, and sometimes cow’s milk. Its firmness lends itself perfectly for grilling and frying, as its high melting point helps it to retain its shape. Its taste is akin to kefalotyri, another famous Greek cheese used primarily for the flambéed saganaki dish, but slightly sweeter and more vegetal. The main difference lies in the texture. Halloumi has a bit of a squeak to it, which makes it a great addition to a salad, as it provides an unexpected textural component.
Here we have matched the briny bite of halloumi with plump figs and a bitter arugula base to capture the notes of fall, both deep and harvest sweet.
250 g of halloumi, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 teaspoon (5ml) of grapeseed oil
8 figs, quartered
4 cups of baby arugula
2 tablespoons (30 ml) of Kozlik’s Fig and Balsamic Mustard
3 tablespoons (45 ml) of olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) of red wine vinegar
In a small resealable container, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and shake well. If you cannot locate the specialty mustard, substituting a good quality sweet honey mustard will do the trick.
Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Once the pan is evenly warmed, add the grapeseed oil to coat evenly.
Evenly layer the cubed halloumi in the pan and allow to gently fry for about one minute, until golden brown. Using tongs, flip the halloumi to a different side of the cube and fry for one more minute. Repeat for all sides of the halloumi cube.
Once the halloumi is fried, serve the salad.
To assemble, toss the arugula with the dressing and divide evenly among four plates. Top each plate with two quartered figs and a quarter of the fried halloumi.