Friday, February 21, 2014

Recipe: Grilled Halloumi w Pickled Onion

Grilled Halloumi w Pickled Onions & Arugula 
This is one of my standby appetizers when I'm going to a potluck or hosting a party. It's vibrantly colorful with translucent, jewel-like red onions set against bronzed slabs of halloumi and a bed of fresh greens and more importantly for gatherings—this crowd pleaser is a cinch to make, so you can actually enjoy the party too rather than slave away in the kitchen.

Simply give the onions a quick chop & pickling an hour prior, then pan fry some halloumi on a pan just prior to serving. Then voila, a plate of oozy, salty cheese (which is what I love about halloumi, its high melting point means you can get a crispy char on the outside while it retains a softened, almost but not quite melted texture within) whose richness is cut with acidic onions and peppery arugula.

In hindsight, I kinda feel guilty even calling this a "recipe", but the results are definitely splendid.

Grilled Halloumi with Pickled Onion

Ingredients (serves approx. 8)
14 oz. Halloumi cheese, sliced into quarter-inch slabs
1 small red onion, cut in half vertically, then thinly sliced so you get semi-circles out of the rings
4 oz. red wine vinegar
1 oz. water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups arugula, washed & dried (or your leafy greens of choice)
vegetable oil

1. About an hour before serving, put the sliced onions in a bowl or a jar and add vinegar, water and sugar. Swish or shake occasionally, making sure all the slices have some time to immerse in the vinegar mixture.
2. 10 minutes before serving, heat up a skillet on medium-high heat for 30 seconds. While skillet is heating, put the arugula in a platter.
3. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the surface of the skillet, then put the cut slabs of halloumi cheese in.
4. In about a minute or two (when you see the edges of the cheese getting golden brown & bubbly), flip the halloumi and allow it to pan fry for another minute.
5. Put the halloumi on top of the arugula, then the pickled onion slices.
6. Pour half the pickling brine onto the skillet to deglaze, then drizzle over platter and serve.