Well didn't I just make this in class last week! It was "salad" day in my H'ors Doeuvres & Apps class, and I was looking and cooking for an A. In class I made Feta & Goat Cheese Fritters to go with this, but I have access to a deep fryer there. At home I would grill small chunks of halloumi for that salty cheesy bite. I used those big fat yellow tomatoes shop through with hot pink, because that's what they had at my local farmers. I was lucky enough to have 2 different types of cucumbers on hand, which added another dimension to this salad. The Gazpacho Vin" is a fabulous way to use up and small bits and odds and ends from the weeks salad makings. - Aliwaks —Aliwaks
Test Kitchen Notes
Aliwaks's multicomponent salad brings together different textures and flavors. The crunchy pita chips, the gooey cheese and the multidimensional vinaigrette all compliment the beautiful heirloom tomatoes. - Stephanie —The Editors
For the salad
Prettiest Heirlooms you can find
package halloumi cheese (can sub feta)
olive oil or Garlic oil
clove garlic (if you don't have garlic oil)
cup flat leaf parsely
Salt & Pepper
pimenton or pimento d'espellette, or just plain old spanish paprika, whatever you have
clove garlic, smashed
Cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely diced
finely diced red onion
finely diced watermelon
diced celery (peeled)
cup finely diced tomato (use the tops & bottoms!)
cup finely diced red or orange pepper (peeled)
Salt & pepper
tiny mint leaves for garnish
In This Recipe
Cut Halloumi in to 1" cubes
Tear Pita in to irregular pieces @ 1" all around
Blend herbs with garlic oil, lemon zest & lemon juice. Taste, season with salt & pepper
Pour herb/lemon mixture over Cheese & Pita bits, toss well
Remove pita bits and lay cookie rack over a sheet pan, and toast in 350 degree oven, @10-15 min or so till crunchy (can be done ahead and kept in air tight container), alternatively you can sautee these as you would a crouton until they get crispy.
Set a pot of salted water up to boil & a bowl of ice & cold water for blanching.
Whisk together, Sherry vinegar, smashed garlic clove, cumin & paprika (or pimenton)...slowly add olive oil to emulsify. (if you do this in blender, consider adding only half the garlic. Taste , adjust seasoning, adding more oil if needed
Mix the tiny veg dice into the vinaigrette and put in fridge (@ 10 min)
With a very sharp knife, make an X at the base of each tomato, plunge the tomatoes into the pot of water, count to 10 and then scoop then out with a slotted spoon and plunge them in to the ice bath.*
Count to 10 again, and then carefully peel the tomatoes.
Slice thinly, starting at the base and working towards the top
Lay the tomatoes in slightly overlapping layers on a flat platter or plate. It should resemble a mosaic, or a cross section of a Chihuly glass sculpture. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt & pepper.
Heat a non stick pan till very hot, add halloumi cubes, and sear on two sides (or you can grill).
Spoon the vinaigrette across the middle of the tomatoes in a thin line (so it's like a stripe)
Strew Cheese Cubes, Pita bits and Baby Mint leaves around the platter, sprinkle with additional pimenton if you wish.
* You don't have to blanch the tomatoes, I do, because it makes them every so slightly easier to eat without using a knife.
This would be fantastic as a starter or side to a dinner of grilled lamb marinated in lots of garlic & herbs. Or you can easily add a protein to this to make it a main course salad..grilled shrimp, scallops, some leftover lobster, it would also take well to grilled chicken..or white flesh fish.