pear pumpkin and haloumi salad
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Pear and grilled haloumi salad with roasted parsnip and pumpkin seeds. Pear and pumpkin seeds give haloumi the sweetness and the crunch, and roasted parsnip chunks transform the salad from an appetiser into a main course.
Grilled haloumi is one of the most gorgeous things in this world but it’s good to find a backdrop for it that would feature a bit of sweet, a bit of salty and a bit of crunchy. Otherwise you realise that it’s a little like VERY rubbery tofu. Fruit works well; apple is boring: pear then. I do adore very firm conference pears and they play well in salads.
For the crunch I have this fantastic method of zinging up nuts, seeds and sprinkles; toss them in a little soy sauce and toast for ever in very low oven. They get awesomely salty and very very crunchy.
But since I wanted to do this as a dinner dish, I needed a filler. Sweet potato has been done to death; I detest squash of all kinds and ordinary potatoes are fattening. Parsnip then – it roasts very nicely and it’s a good sweeti-ish starch.
And then it hit me: never mind haloumi, this will be a PPP dish: parsnip, pear and pumpkin. Why not – if most foodies on social media are only concerned about dishes’ appearance, I might as well compose them alphabetically. I’m better with words than I am with styling so that’s the way to go.
Baked beans with bacon, chicken courgette couscous, fennel feta and figs, ginger and garlic gammon, lamb in leeks, Mexican mushroom meatloaf – blimey, I can’t believe I never thought about doing it like this before! What a world of opportunities! And there I was, worried that I was a generalist spreading myself thin, without a niche, without a specialty. Sorted now – I have a niche. Alliteration food. I bet no one else does it.
Spicy steamed salmon with sauerkraut salad. Roasted rye and raisin rugelach. Triple toasted teacake. Cheesy chermoula with crispy croutons. Fried faro in filo foldovers. Easy egg, endive and edam empanadas. Golden grilled goose with grape gravy. Aubergine and avocado aperitif!
So many letters, so little time.
And the small detail that alliteration is not necessarily an indicator of great taste combinations – so what? Does anyone think that the beautiful food arrangements on IG or Pinterest are edible? Surely not.
PS. In the end I tediously stuck with a more comprehensive dish name, as the haloumi is the main player in this salad. But watch it! I’ll get onto the alliteration track in my own time!
pear pumpkin and haloumi saladServings: 2-4Time: 1 hour 30
- 3 parsnips
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- salt and pepper
- 30g pumpkin seeds
- 30g sunflower seeds
- 10g pine nuts
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 3 conference pears
- juice of 2 limes
- shredded lettuce or rocket
- 250g halloumi cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/gas 1. Prepare two baking trays to set on two racks in the oven; line one with parchment.
2. Peel the parsnips and cut them into 2 x 2cm (1 inch) chunks. Melt the butter and mix it with both oils in a bowl; add the parsnip chunks. Season them generously with salt and pepper and toss around well to coat. Spread them over the unlined baking tray and place in the oven on the higher rack. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing and turning them around halfway through.
3. Stir the soy sauce into the seeds in a bowl, then spread them on the parchment lined tray, as much in a single layer as you can. Bake on the lower rack for 40 minutes or until the seeds are dry, toasted and crunchy; stirring them around halfway through.
4. Peel the pears and cut them into small dice. Place them in a large bowl and drizzle with a little of the lime juice, for dressing.
5. Remove the parsnips and the seeds from the oven, remove the seeds from the parchment into a small bowl. Transfer the parsnips from the tray onto paper towels but keep the oil mix. Pour it into the bowl with the remaining lime juice and whisk to emulsify.
6. Heat up a large non-stick pan, dry, over medium heat.
7. Add the parsnip chunks to the pears; add the lettuce or rocket and a third of the seeds, and toss it all together with the lime dressing. Transfer to a serving platter or divide between individual plates or bowls.
8. Thickly slice the halloumi into 6-8 pieces. Sear it in the hot pan for about 2 minutes on each side, until crisp and scorched. Arrange them on top of the salad and serve immediately.