You guys. This salad. I mean, really. You need to make this. Like, now. It’s really good. And unexpectedly so, considering it was a bit of an experiment.
I am a big salad person. I like salads. But, despite my affinity for them, I tend to stick to pretty ordinary combinations—lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, with the occasional chickpea or lentil or radish thrown in. But I’ve been trying out different flavor combinations lately, so I knew that I wanted to do a salad for the lunch part of the 3/1 Seasonal Challenge that Consuelo (from honeyandfigskitchen) and I started. I wanted to use yellow peaches because they’re meaty and flavorful without being as sweet as, say, Saturn peaches are.
I got the idea from an appetizer I’d had years ago at a restaurant—it was a grilled peach salad with parma ham and mozzarella. Now, I don’t really eat meat anymore, so I wanted to make a vegetarian version. But I still wanted something salty, and mozzarella and peaches would just be too sweet without the parma ham. Enter halloumi—salty and flavorful, and perfectly melt-y after a couple of minutes in a frying pan. I chose not to grill the peaches, because I wanted them to be crisp and bright to offset the halloumi cheese. The hazelnuts give this texture and crunch, which as you’ve probably figured out by now are two things I always try to have in a dish.
The best thing about this salad is it takes ten minutes to put together—it’s unfussy and unpretentious and perfect for summer lunches and barbecues.
Peach Salad with Halloumi Cheese and Hazelnuts
Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main
- 2 large yellow peaches, sliced
- 100 g arugula leaves
- 200 g halloumi cheese
- 35 g toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- olive oil for pan frying
Slice the halloumi cheese into 1.5cm-thick slices, and place in a frying pan with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Cook on medium heat until golden-brown, then flip over, and cook until that side is golden brown too. This should only take a couple of minutes. Once done, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel for a few seconds to blot any additional oil.
While the halloumi is cooking, place the arugula and peaches on a large, shallow platter and dress with the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Place the halloumi on the platter with the peaches and arugula, and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.
- I find the halloumi is salty enough, so I don’t add any extra salt to this salad.
- Dress the salad just before serving, as arugula tends to wilt particularly quickly.
- Halloumi cheese should be eaten immediately after it’s been cooked. If it is left out too long, it acquires a squeaky (yup, squeaky!) texture.