Grilled haloumy tart with a winter salad

Grilled haloumy tart with a winter salad

By
From
Arabesque
Photographer
William Meppem

The simplest way of serving this rubbery-looking, slightly bland cheese is to grill or fry it. This transforms it to a golden, molten appetiser, which just needs a squeeze of lemon to bring it to life. Cypriot haloumy comes plastic-wrapped in brine and needs to be briefly rinsed and patted dry before use. Cut it widthways into slices about half a centimetre thick and dredge it in flour. Add cayenne or hot paprika to the flour for a spicier result. Fry the cheese slices in a little oil or butter and sprinkle them with thyme and a squeeze of lemon. Cook for a minute on each side and eat immediately. If they are allowed to cool down too much they go rubbery again. Eat them just like this, hot from the pan, as part of a mezze selection, or arrange them in this tart as a delicious starter or light lunch dish. The pastry may be made and even baked ahead of time and the tart easily assembled when ready to eat. This recipe makes enough pastry to line either four 8 cm tins or one 23 cm tin.

Pastry

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
50g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
80g butter, chilled
80g creme fraiche, chilled

Filling

Quantity Ingredient
12 spears white asparagus
100g portobello mushrooms, sliced thinly
60g frisee lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup watercress leaves
1 small lebanese cucumber, de-seeded and finely shredded
1 witlof, leaves separated
1/2 cup lamb’s lettuce leaves
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 block cypriot haloumy cheese
plain flour, for dusting
40ml olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
100ml vinaigrette
salt and pepper

Vinaigrette

Quantity Ingredient
5 dates
100ml water
1 lemon, juiced
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put the flours, salt and chopped butter into the food processor bowl. Then chill the whole bowl and blade in the freezer for 10–15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and pulse carefully until crumbs form. Add the crème fraîche and pulse until just incorporated (don’t overwork). Work into a ball with your hands. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Or, if you like, make the pastry a day ahead.
  2. When you are ready to make the tart, roll out the pastry, place it in a shallow 23 cm tart tin and allow it to rest a further 2 hours. Then line the pastry with foil, fill it with beans or rice and blind-bake it in an oven preheated to 180°C for 10–15 minutes until the pastry has set and is beginning to colour.
  3. Remove the beans and foil, lower the heat to 160°C and bake for a further 10 minutes until the pastry is golden-brown and crisp.
  4. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in its tin. Do not refrigerate it, but reserve it until needed in an airtight container (up to a day ahead).
  5. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears, and peel them up to the top. Drop them into boiling salted water for 10 mins or until tender. Refresh them in cold water and cut each spear into 3 pieces, on the diagonal.
  6. When you are ready to serve, flash the tart in a preheated 200°C oven for 2 minutes. While it is heating, place the asparagus in a large mixing bowl with the mushrooms, frisée, watercress leaves, shredded cucumber, witlof, lamb’s lettuce and shallots.
  7. Remove the haloumy from its packet, rinse it briefly and pat it dry. Cut the haloumy widthways into 8 slices. Dust in a little plain flour. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan. When the oil is almost smoking add the cheese slices and fry them for 30 seconds on each side, until they are a rich golden-brown. At end of frying, sprinkle them with thyme leaves and a squeeze of lemon.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat. Dress the salad with half the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and pile the salad into warm tart shell, laying the haloumy slices on the top. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette around the plate and serve while the haloumy is still hot.
  9. To make the vinaigrette, bring water to boil, add dates and simmer until they are meltingly soft (around 15 minutes). Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. When cold, remove the seeds and skins. Chop the dates finely and whisk with the lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.
Tags:
Middle East
Middle Eastern
Arabic
Arabian
Arabesque
Greg
Lucy
Malouf
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