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  • Recipe Room  »  Crisp haloumi with roasted pumpkin and sweet red pepper salad

    4

    Ingredients

    • 1kg butternut pumpkin, cut into smallish pieces (I usually make them about the size of my little finger)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 2 red capsicums
    • 350g haloumi cheese, sliced into little-finger-sized pieces
    • olive oil, for frying
    • 1 small bunch rocket (about 4 handfuls)

    Basil dressing

    • ½ small clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 – 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • Sea salt, to taste
    • 2 big handfuls of basil leaves
    • Garnish: fine slivers of red onion, optional; freshly ground black pepper

    Crisp haloumi with roasted pumpkin and sweet red pepper salad

    Haloumi-thumbnail

    This vibrant salad is quite substantial and satisfying, needing only a loaf of good bread to mop up the dressing. 

    Method

    Preheat your oven to 220C, and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

    Sit the pumpkin pieces on the prepared tray. Drizzle the olive oil over them and sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, then toss everything together. Put the tray in the oven and roast the pumpkin, turning the pieces occasionally, for 30 – 40 minutes until it’s just cooked through and deep golden with crisp edges.

    Meanwhile, line a grill tray with foil. Slice the capsicums down their natural contour lines into large pieces, then remove the cores, seeds and white ribs. Sit them, shiny-side up, on the prepared grill tray, then place them under a hot grill until the skins blister and blacken.

    When they’re ready, take them out and cover them with a thick tea-towel. Leave them to sweat for a few minutes, then, as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, peel away and discard the skins. Slice into 1cm wide strips, then cover and set aside.

    For the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients into a blender and whiz them together until they form a lovely deep-green dressing. (Don’t make this too far ahead, as it loses its bright colour quite rapidly). Taste it and adjust the flavours to suit you – I find I always have to do a bit of balancing out, as oils and vinegars vary so much. Just be careful not to make it too vinegary.

    When the pumpkin is ready, remove it from the oven. Pat the haloumi fingers as dry as possible with paper towels. Quickly heat a little oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the haloumi fingers and cook them, turning regularly, until they’re golden all over – this should only take a few minutes as they brown rapidly. Drain them on paper towels.

    To put the salad together, first toss the rocket with enough of the dressing to lightly coat it. Now sit a pile of rocket on each plate, top this with some pumpkin pieces, capsicum strips and haloumi fingers, splotching a little more dressing here and there as you go. Repeat the layering until you have a nice pile of salad on the plate; finish with a leaf or two of rocket and a sprinkle of onion slivers, if using. Give each salad a good grinding of pepper and serve them straight away. Serve any remaining dressing separately

    Submitted by
    Belinda Jeffery

    Tips and Tricks

    • Capsicums are best stored unwrapped in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Red and yellow capsicums keep for up to five days but green ones will last about a week.

    • Cheese is best stored in the warmest parts of your fridge, namely the fridge door or the top shelf. Many fridges provide a cheese tray to keep cheeses at a warmer temperature. As soft cheeses deteriorate faster than hard cheeses, they are best stored in a cooler part of your fridge. It’s best to also keep soft cheeses wrapped in grease proof paper rather than plastic, in order that they can breathe.

    • To avoid wastage, cook and puree pumpkin and store in an air tight container in the freezer. It can then be defrosted for use at a later date.

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