Halloumi with Sweet Pepper & Coriander Salsa

Yes halloumi again. Apologies for two halloumi recipes in a row. It wasn’t especially intentional, but the weather remains warm and rather humid here in London – though nothing like the two days of heatwave (yes only two days, despite all the fuss) of two weeks’ ago. The temperature is only in the mid-20s, which is normal for summer here, but the humidity is quite high. Thus I continue to have more salads than usual, though I did make moussaka (click here for recipe) yesterday. Three little individual ones – one to have straight away and two for the freezer. Thus I had a little virtual excursion to Greece yesterday evening, where food is never served piping hot, so the moussaka was taken from the oven a little before I wanted to eat to have simply warm and I made a big green salad to go with it. On Saturday I made a Freekeh and Courgette Salad (click here for recipe) to have with some griddled chicken.

I had quite a bit left over in the fridge and decided I should use it up tonight. But what to have with it? I had mozzarella in the fridge, a burrata, but the halloumi looked a better option somehow with a middle-eastern inspired salad. How could I liven it up? I always feel halloumi needs something with it, like the peaches I did recently (click here) or perhaps made into saganaki (click here), which is a family favourite and my son makes it quite often. Then I remembered a wonderful salsa I used to make from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection many years ago. I dug out the book, which I bought new when it was published in 1993, having watched the TV series. Delia actually calls this a ‘relish’ rather than salsa and I used to make it to go with her spiced lamb kebabs. She says it’s good with any grilled or barbecued meat, but I reckoned it would be good with halloumi too. So I nipped out to the shops to buy fresh coriander, a sweet red pepper and some limes and the relish was made a bit before supper time and put in the fridge to chill.

Halloumi with Sweet Pepper & Coriander Salsa

  • 1 x 250g pack of halloumi

For the relish:

  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned and de-seeded, chopped
  • 1 fresh green or red chilli, cut in half and de-seeded
  • 1 medium red pepper, cut in quarters and de-seeded
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 limes)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

   

The easiest way, I find, to skin tomatoes is to cut a shallow cross in the top, put in a small saucepan and pour boiling water over them. Leave only for about a minute, then lift out. Once cool enough to handle, the skin should easily peel away. Then you can cut in half, take out the little hard core at one end and, for recipes like this (though I don’t usually bother), take out the seeds too.

Put the tomatoes with all the other ingredients into a food processor. Process – best on Pulse – until amalgamated and you have a salsa. But don’t pulse for too long as you want the individual ingredients to retain their integrity, as you can see below.

Transfer to a small bowl. You could use straight away but I think it’s best to make it about an hour in advance and allow it to chill in the fridge before use.

When I wanted to eat I griddled the halloumi – my preferred method, though you could fry in a little oil if you don’t have a griddle.

Cut the halloumi into slices about 1cm thick. I didn’t want all the pack I had so have a little left over. Brush the slices with a little extra virgin olive oil.

 

Heat the griddle and when hot lay the halloumi pieces on it and grill both sides.

Spoon some of the freekeh salad on a plate. Lay the halloumi slices at the side and spoon on some of the chilled salsa (give it a good stir when you take it out of the fridge first).

The bonus of the warm weather is that even in London it was warm enough to sit outside in the garden and eat! That always brings a holiday-ish feel to the meal, I think. It was really good. The salsa had a nice sweet freshness but a good chilli hit too, which I like. It turned out to be an excellent accompaniment to the halloumi and I’d certainly match them again.

I do have quite a bit of the salsa left over. A little bit of research online suggests I shouldn’t keep it longer than about 5 days in the fridge. You can freeze it but the texture will change a bit. And if you’re into preserving in a big way, perhaps it could be bottled? However, I’m all for keeping things simple and will just use what I can over the next few days. I think it will go brilliantly with fish, especially cod; more chicken of course, but lamb chops or kebabs too, or burgers? It’s a great salsa and will go well with many foods – so do try it!

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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