Here's a salad that's lovely to look at and a snap to compose. Halloumi cheese is now widely available at larger grocery stores; true halloumi is made of sheep's and goat's milk on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Its pasta filata style (molded, compressed curds) makes it a good choice for grilling and/or broiling.
The salad is surprisingly hearty, but feel free to add protein, such as smoked whitefish or cut pieces of grilled chicken.
We added the optional garnishes, which might not be so Greek. But they are so summer.
Serve with grilled peaches or figs.
- For the dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- Salt, preferably Maldon flaked sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the salad
- 1 medium or 2 small zucchinis (9 ounces total)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil, for brushing
- 5 ounces halloumi cheese (may substitute a 5-ounce chunk of provolone cheese)
- 1 head romaine lettuce (torn or discolored outer leaves discarded; 1 pound before trimming)
- 2 small heads radicchio (torn or withered outer leaves discarded; 9 ounces total)
- About 20 mint leaves
- Dill flowers or edible flower petals, for garnish (optional)
For the dressing: Combine the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and salt and pepper to taste in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until emulsified. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Reserve 2 tablespoons of dressing for the salad greens.
For the salad: Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the top broiler element; preheat the broiler. (Alternatively, prepare the outdoor grill for direct, medium heat.) Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, or have ready a broiler pan.
Trim the zucchini ends, then cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper to taste and brush lightly with oil. Place them cut side down on the prepared baking sheet or broiler pan.
Broil for 4 minutes, then turn the zucchini halves over and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Cut diagonally into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl.
Cut the cheese into bite-size pieces and place on the same baking sheet or grill pan used for the zucchinis. Brush lightly with oil, and season with pepper to taste. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned on one side; watch closely so it doesn't burn. Leave the cheese on the sheet or pan until ready to serve.
While the zucchinis are in the oven, wash and dry the lettuce and radicchio, then tear into bite-size pieces and arrange on a large serving platter. Wash and dry the mint leaves; reserve. Sprinkle the lettuce mixture with the reserved 2 tablespoons of dressing and toss to coat.
Shake the sealed container of dressing to recombine as needed, then pour it over the zucchini pieces in the bowl. Toss to coat evenly, then arrange the zucchini and cheese pieces on the lettuce. Tear the mint leaves into pieces and scatter on top. Garnish with dill flowers or edible flower petals, if desired. Serve immediately, to be portioned at the table.
Adapted from "Vefa's Kitchen," by Vefa Alexiadou (Phaidon Press, 2009; www.phaidon.com).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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