Kyrenia Griddled Halloumi, Tomato & Pomegranate Salad

This beautiful little dish – often served as part of a Levantine mezze table – is outrageously easy to make. It’s bright, it’s salty, it’s a little bit sweet and a little bit sour so it’s the perfect accompaniment to a creamy, lemony and garlicky hummus, slivers of tangy feta cheese and generous chunks of my freshly-baked pide ekmeği (Turkish flatbread). Trust me, it’s a holiday on a plate, something we northern ‘hemispherers‘ so sorely need right now. Let me take you there: a few years ago we were treated to a week-long vacation on Cyprus and were taken to a beautiful restaurant called Ambiance near Kyrenia which sits on a beautiful wooden deck built into the shallow waters of the Mediterranean sea. It was pinkly dusk when we arrived and was entirely illuminated by candlelight; you know that feeling, when your body is still warm from the sun and you allow yourself to become totally immersed in the atmosphere; this was one of those moments that you know you must indelibly ink onto your memory. I flicked through the menu as I ran my fingers around the edge of a huge glass of rosé wine – you must know that I only drink rosé on holiday, I don’t even like it much, it just sits nicely with a sunset (yes, I am entirely bonkers). We chose a few mezze dishes to start and this sumptuous salad was amongst them. I have a much neater photo than the one shown here but as I compared the two, I realised that this one was more representative of the dish we were served that night; a beautiful chaos of colour and flavour.

Halloumi & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp za’atar
x2 250g packs of Cypriot halloumi (if it’s not from Cyprus, it’s not halloumi), sliced
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Chopped mint leaves, to garnish
Pomegranate arils, to garnish

How I make it

Place the olive oil in a bowl, add the za’atar and the halloumi. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

Heat a large griddle pan and add the slices of marinated halloumi – be prepared to do this in batches – and grill on both sides until golden brown. Remove from pan and arrange on a pretty plate.

Then add the tomatoes and pomegranate molasses to the pan. Stir around for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes become just warm.

Pour over the grilled halloumi and garnish with the chopped mint and pomegranate arils.

Please check out my Pantry and Source pages to discover more about the ingredients I use, the brands I love and the places I source them from.

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