Grilled Halloumi and Quinoa Salad
Traditional to Cyprus, halloumi is a briny, squeaky sheep and/or goat's milk cheese. A high melting point makes it ideal for grilling or frying, which miraculously transforms it into a distinctive, golden-crusted cheese with a milky soft center. However, the cheese usually be found at Whole Foods, as well as Mediterranean markets and through igourmet (and, rumor has it, Trader Joe's, though I haven't checked).
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Persian cucumber or 1/2 regular cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 3 cups lettuce leaves, arugula, or other salad greens
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
In a medium bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a dash of salt and pepper. Add cucumber and scallion and toss to combine. Cover and let stand.
Place quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Add cooled quinoa, parsley, mint, and lettuce to the bowl and toss to coat.
Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat (no oil) and grill the halloumi until golden, about two minutes on each side. (Cheese can also be grilled in a panini press.) When done, squeeze a little lemon juice over the cheese.
Arrange quinoa salad on two plates and top with the halloumi and cucumbers (without liquid).
Can make up to a day ahead and refrigerate. For best texture, add the lettuce and grill the halloumi just before serving.