I made this recipe back in February to enter into a competition with the theme ‘savoury recipes with dates’. It was still desperately cold and salads were not really on my radar of what I wanted to be cooking, but, when thinking about good savoury pairings for dates, I kept coming back to salty cheese, especially halloumi.
You could grill the halloumi in an oven but, being the annoying daughter I am, I was incessant that I wanted the grill marks for my photos. So, I sent my dad off, wrapped in a coat and scarf, into the garden with a plate of halloumi, to dust off and fire up the barbecue (which hadn’t seen life since last summer). As I chopped up my oranges and dates from the warmth of the kitchen, Dad stood shivering in front of the barbecue, tongs in hand, grilling the cheese. So, thanks Dad, this one was definitely a joint effort!
I have made a very similar salad previously, which you can find here. Dad also features in that post, manning the grill once again. Maybe it’s time I learnt how to use the BBQ…
Orange, halloumi, bulgur and date salad
4, as a side dish
For the dressing:
1 orange, juice and zest
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp runny honey
Flakey sea salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
110g bulgur wheat
8 large, soft, sticky dates, pitted (Medjool are best. If you only have small dates, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes to soften and use a few more)
100g rocket, spinach and watercress mixed salad, or just rocket
1 x 250g pack of halloumi, sliced horizontally
1 handful fresh mint leaves
2 generous handfuls slivered pistachios
Flakey sea salt
Mix together all of the ingredients for the dressing in an empty jar and season to taste. Add more of any of the ingredients if you want it sweeter or more acidic.
Place the bulgur in a saucepan of salted water and cook according to pack instructions. I used about 600ml water and cooked for 10-15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
Slice the top and bottom off the oranges then slice away the rest of the peel, removing as much of the pith as possible before slicing horizontally.
Slice the dates lengthways, in half, if your dates aren’t particularly big, or quarters if they are.
Put the leaves into a large serving bowl then spoon the cooked bulgur over the top. Arrange the orange slices over the bulgur and scatter over the dates.
Heat a good glug of oil on a griddle or frying pan and fry the halloumi until golden, turning over to cook both sides.
Top the salad with the warm halloumi, scatter over the mint, pistachios and a few good pinches of salt and pour over the dressing. Serve immediately.
This is nice with barbecued meats or chicken or as part of a vegetarian spread with other salads.