Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Salad with Halloumi from Honey & Co.


We are in May: the month of exhaustion for teachers and students alike. And in the midst of said exhaustion, a simple, beautiful, and flavorful salad seems just the ticket. Because I don't have energy for much else. Seriously. Do not expect a lot from an educator in May.

I snapped up this bright and peppy cookbook a few months ago at my local used bookstore. Marked down to a mere fraction of the cost of a new cookbook (and without a spot, scratch, or dallop of sauce on it!), this book basically begged to be mine. What, with it's beautiful photographs, Middle Eastern recipes, and association with Ottolenghi, how could I deny it?


Honey & Co. is the brain- and love-child of Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, acclaimed chefs who opened a small restaurant in London in 2012 after having done their time with the famed Yotam Ottolenghi (among others in their storied culinary upbringing).

Srulovich writes that they wanted their restaurant to be "a noisy, crazy, sexy, smoky, messy, food-/love-/people-celebration of a place." And lucky for us, they shared a cookbook that, maybe won't transform your kitchen into a hive of Middle Eastern cum British cooking, but will at least transport you there via your taste buds.


This recipe is pretty simple--the combination of zucchini, peas, and fava beans (also known as broad beans) is spectacular with all of its shades of green. The saffron and lemon dressing is very acidic, but after dotting a little on the halloumi (or all over the salad), we mixed in a little more olive oil and water. It made a fantastic dressing overall.

So, go out, show your local, May-induced-dazed educator some love.

Or bring them this salad. They are, no doubt, equivalent.  I promise.




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Spring Salad with Halloumi from Honey & Co.
Adapted from Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East

Yield:
4 Servings 

Ingredients:  
4 cups water
1 heaped tsp salt
1/2 cup shelled peas
1/2 cup shelled fava beans (or broad beans)
1 head Little Gem lettuce
1 medium zucchini
3 sprigs of fresh mint, picked
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp for frying
8 ounces Manouri or Halloumi cheese

For the lemon sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small unwaxed lemon, finely sliced, skin and all, seeds removed
a pinch of saffron
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp honey

Instructions:
1. To make the lemon sauce:  Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the lemon slices.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the start to color. Add the saffron and water; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat as low as possible and cook slowly for about 30 minutes. You may need to add more water. Once the lemons are very sot, stir in the honey and mix well. Transfer to a food processor and puree until completely smooth.

2.  To make the salad: Bring the 4 cups of water and the salt to a boil. Plunge the peas in for 30 seconds and then removed with a slotted spoon to a bowl of iced water. Return the water to a boil, and repeat the process with the fava beans--they will need 1 minute in the water. Remove the peas and the beans from the iced water as soon as they are cold (so they don't get waterlogged). Remove the outer skin from the fava beans by pinching them and pulling out the beans.

3.  Separate the lettuce into leaves, then wash and dry them, and set them aside. Use a vegetable peeler to create thin ribbons of zucchini. Mix in a large bowl with the peas, fava beans, lettuce, mint leaves, salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil. Arrange on a large platter or on individual serving plates.

4.  Cut the cheese into 8 thick slices. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pa on medium-high heat and cook the cheese for about 30 seconds. Then flip the slices over to cook on the other side for another 30 seconds.

5.  Place the slices on each individual salad or arrange them over the large serving platter. Dot the lemon sauce all over the salad. Serve immediately.

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