Thursday, February 28, 2013

H - Haloumi with Asparagus and Honey-seared Endive

A photograph of Grilled Haloumi with Asparagus and Honey-seared Endive
Grilled Haloumi with Asparagus and Honey-Seared Endive

“This isn’t really a salad you fling together at the last minute, but rather is carefully composed of sophisticated flavours…”

– Greg & Lucy Malouf, ‘Moorish’

I vowed to myself at the start of this project that we wouldn’t cook recipes from the same book on consecutive weeks. Alas, it’s only taken us eight weeks to break this, but seriously, people, do you know just how difficult it can be to find recipes that start with a particular letter AND which come from a different place each week? It’s no mean feat, I can tell you. Clearly, we need more cook books. When I finish this post, I’m going surfing at my favourite online bookstore, where I spend too much money already.

More photographs inside.
A photograph of Endives being seared and glazed
Glazing and searing Endive

Anyway, for the dish of the week, we have dipped back into ‘Moorish’, which is fast becoming one of our go-to recipe books. This gem of a cook book is a compilation of recipes inspired by the flavours of North Africa, Spain, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, all of which are linked by the influences of Arabia. While our green Gazpacho was a nod to Spain, this week’s dish is fragrant with Middle Eastern ingredients.

A photograph of Asparagus being blanched
Blanching Asparagus

The introduction to the salad above is a nice indication of what’s in store. This salad is not too fiddly to make, but, because of it’s many components, its construction does require some patience – the asparagus is blanched until just tender; the endive is seared and then glazed with an aromatic concoction of honey, orange blossom water, cardamom and black pepper; the walnuts are roasted and their skins rubbed away; the haloumi is pan-fried until it turns a lovely golden brown, then drizzled with lemon and sprinkled with thyme. All the ingredients are then tossed together with a dressing of olive and sesame oil, white wine vinegar and lemon.

A photograph of of grilled Haloumi
Grilled Haloumi

While this is a salad that definitely involves more than chopping a few ingredients and tossing them in a bowl the result is infinitely more wonderful than the sum of its parts. It’s marvelous marriage of flavours and textures – the asparagus is delicately sweet and plays against the salty, squeaky haloumi and the bitterness of the endive, with the walnuts and onion adding crunch.

This would make a fantastic starter for a morrocan or Middle Eastern meal, and, if one uses slightly larger servings, would be a great vegetarian main as well.

A photograph of the Haloumi with Asparagus and Honey-seared Endive salad
Haloumi with Asparagus and Honey-seared Endive

Technical Details

Unfortunately I didn't take a setup shot for this one. It was a single Canon 430 EX II fired at 70mm from Camera left. The left the shutter opened for longer to let the ambient light fill the image.

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