Roasted asparagus and sauteed haloumi salad
This simple salad, which looks so utterly delicious, is very quick and easy to make and has a lovely interplay of warm, salty, chewy and grassy flavours and textures. It’s the sort of thing I make for an impromptu lunch and serve with a bowl of chopped tomato and avocado drizzled with good olive oil, and a loaf of bread which has been warmed in the oven. It’s hard to beat!
Just one thing to note before you give it a try: when asparagus is roasted, it doesn’t have quite the brilliant green colour of steamed asparagus, however roasting really concentrates its flavour, and I must say I rather love its slightly wrinkled look.
- Serves 4
- About ½ cup (125 ml) olive oil, for cooking
- 1/3 cup (50 g) cornflour
- 200 g haloumi, cut 5mm thick slices
- Roasted Asparagus:
- Approx. 650g medium-sized asparagus spears (I work on 8 – 10 spears per person), bases trimmed
- 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- leaves and flowers from 2 – 3 sprigs tarragon, optional
- Lemon wedges, to serve
To make the roasted asparagus, preheat your oven to 250C and line a large baking tray with baking paper, then set it aside. Sit the asparagus spears on the tray, drizzle them with olive oil, then use your hands to mix them together so the spears are well coated in oil. Spread the spears out on the tray in a single layer, then slide the tray onto the top shelf of the oven and roast the asparagus for 7-10 minutes, or until the spears are tender when pierced with a fine skewer. As soon as they’re ready, remove them from the oven and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Just before the asparagus comes out of the oven, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Tip the cornflour into a shallow bowl. Dip the haloumi slices into it so they’re coated all over (if the cornflour doesn’t stick, lightly moisten the slices with water), then gently shake off any excess cornflour. Fry the slices in a single layer for about 1 minute or so on each side, or until the cheese is golden brown (you may have to adjust the heat a little as you go). Repeat this with any remaining slices. As the slices are ready, scoop them out of the pan onto paper towel to drain.
To serve, sit a pile of asparagus spears on each plate, dotting the haloumi slices here and there as you go (I sometimes break the haloumi into smaller pieces, as I’ve done in the photograph). Sprinkle with tarragon leaves and flowers, if using, and serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. Serve immediately.