Courgette and halloumi salad with basil dressing

A rare recipe today – for something that is both vegetarian-friendly and does not contain chilli. I say vegetarian-friendly rather than simply saying vegetarian because I didn’t check if the halloumi was made with animal rennet, but I’m sure you can find some equivalent cheese that is properly veggie if you are feeding people who object to eating animal products.

Halloumi is the “squeaky cheese” that you get a lot of at BBQs. Most often it’s there for the vegetarians, and the host has to protect it from the omnivores, who selfishly want to eat it as well because it is yummy (and on a summer like this one you can get bored of sausages).

Here’s the instructions:

Get your largest frying pan, put a very little oil in it, and spread the oil around. Put it on the heat.

Put leaves on plates. I got a bag of rocket/watercress/spinach salad.

Start to “peel” the courgettes with your y-shaped peeler. Throw away the first couple of peels, so you start to get nice pale green bits with a dark green edge. If your courgette is quite big you may want to start again from the other side and abandon the middle. About 1 courgette per person is right.

As soon as you have some courgette “ribbbons”, put them in the hot pan. Ideally you’d want to cook each set until they start to go brown, but that depends on your levels of patience. Warm and yielding (undercooked from perfect)  is better than brown and burnt (overcooked). These are so thin that you do not need to worry about flipping and cooking the other side.

Once one set of ribbons is cooked, throw them on top of the leaves (they bend and pile up quite prettily) and put the next set in the pan.

While courgette ribbons are cooking, make your dressing. Mine was made of lots of chopped basil with half-and-half olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of salt (I used Maldon salt because I’ve just bought some but it almost certainly doesn’t make a difference in this case). I shook it up in a little jar and spooned it on.

I also halved some of my home grown cherry tomatoes, sungold and mini Italian plum in this case, and put them around the edge to make it look nice.

Cut up your halloumi, a pack is 200g and that’s probably right for 4 people for a starter or for 2 cheese-loving people for a main course. We had a little under 200g for two of us becaue the whole point of having a salad was to atone for the ridiculous cooked breakfast we had this morning (don’t let me loose near hash browns when I have a hangover!). Stick it in a pan with a bit of oil. Make it hot til it goes a bit brown. Turn it if you can. Don’t go off to get your camera because then it will go too brown (see my picture) but the slight crunchiness is actually quite pleasant.

Arrange nicely. Eat with chilled Merlot while watching Celebrity Masterchef. Or eat however you like, really. But that’s how I ate mine.

I also had red onion (nt sure if you can see it) but I don't recommend it so I haven't included it in the instructions.

I also had red onion but I don’t recommend it so I haven’t included it in the instructions.

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