Sunday, December 18, 2011
Romaine Hearts with Haloumi Matchsticks
I'm filing this under salads. And, I'm laughing while doing so. It has lettuce. And dressing. Oh, and a mountain of fried cheese. So, maybe if I take a nice, big ribeye and slice it and load a couple of lettuce leaves up with steak and dressing I could call that a salad too? I didn't think so. Well, call it what you will, this is a five on a scale of one to five.
OPA! We've had haloumi cheese at Greek restaurants. And, we've thoroughly enjoyed it. I've made it with grilled red grapes and we've loved it. This, however, could easily become an obsession. Fortunately, there are too many great recipes to be tried for anything to appear at dinner more than two or three times a year.
We bought our first package of haloumi cheese at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. I wasn't going back there any time soon so it was time to check out Indy. Our Marsh grocery down the street? Not on your life. The folks in the cheese department thought we were talking another language. Fine. On to Trader Joe's. Nope. Fresh Market? Nope. Now, there's a story. So, we're at the hair salon across the street from Fresh Market getting our purple stripes for Kelsey. The dye had to sit on our hair for about 30 minutes. And, it was covered with foil. Now, I'm not one of those women who cares to cover their grey. I've earned every one of those grey hairs, thank you very much. And, Connie? Well, he started turning white-haired in his mid-20's and has had this glorious head of white hair for 20+ years. We both get our hair cut and that's about it. No experience with dyes and the like. So we find out that we're going to be cooling our heels while the dye sets. There's a grocery store across the street. We're going to the grocery on the way home. Why not go now? The fact that both of us had large pieces of foil in our hair didn't dissuade us in the least. The first person I ran into was a sorority sister. She and her hubby got the whole story. Not so much the other folks in the store who tried their darndest NOT to stare. Like the young man who checked us out. Scan, steal a peek. Scan, steal a peek. He was far too polite to ask and we were having far too much fun to enlighten anyone.
As Liz from ThatSkinnyChickCanBake and I have discussed many times, we're right smack dab in the middle of the best selection of grocery and specialty food stores you can probably ever find. You can go five miles from either of our homes and get to at least 10 great stores. Artisano's Oils, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Trader Joe's, Marsh, Kroger, Kincaids Meats, Costco, Sam's, Grapevine Cottage, The Cheese Shop, Good Earth, Bier Brewery, Sakura Mart... It seemed that nobody had haloumi cheese. All of the sudden Connie said, "Broad Ripple Avenue!" Like I'm supposed to know what he's channeling here. Well, it was a brilliant idea. There's a Greek restaurant down on the avenue with a small grocery. They indeed had haloumi cheese.
What did we think? You can tell from the rating. We don't give many five's out. They're reserved for the dishes that make us want to lick our plates. Dishes that we want to make again the next night. And, in this case DO make again the next night. So, here's my advice to you. If you can't find the stuff in your local stores, order it online. Go ahead. Jungle Jim's ships. You'll be glad you did. This is fabulous.
Romaine Hearts with Haloumi Matchsticks
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 lb haloumi cheese, sliced into matchsticks
3 T walnut oil
1 T sambuco
1 T while balsamic vinegar
1 head romaine hearts
1 T grated orange zest
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. You'll want it to be shimmering before you put the haloumi in. When it's hot enough, add the cheese to the skillet.
Be careful because it'll pop as you add the cheese. Turn the cheese when it gets nice and brown. When both sides are nice and brown, remove it to a paper towel and let it drain. While the cheese is cooking, make the dressing. Mix together the walnut oil, sambuca, white balsamic and orange zest. Wash and pat the romaine leaves dry. To serve, lay 2-3 romaine hearts on a salad plate. Top each with 4-5 matchsticks of cheese and drizzle with dressing.