Today’s recipe for Halloumi and Watermelon salad comes from our new friend, Irini Savva. Irini is a freelance food writer and health coach of Greek-Cypriot descent. She has many amazing recipes at her site: www.irinisavva.com.
If you’ve visited Cyprus in the summer, you will know that no trip to this Mediterranean island is complete without a large watermelon sitting on your kitchen counter. Old pickup trucks filled with watermelons are scattered along the roads, where locals sell their biggest and juiciest seasonal fruit. Restaurants serve thick slices of the sweet fruit at the end of a meal, often complementary, and supermarkets have rows of halved or quartered perfectly ripe watermelons on display. It’s no wonder the summer is always associated with mouthwatering watermelons, locally known as pattiha.
Health benefits of watermelon
There is so much more to watermelons than just a summer snack. The fruit contains many health benefits; it has a high-water content, is low in calories, high in nutrients such as carotenoids, vitamin C and cucurbitacin E. Watermelon not only helps improve your digestion, it’s also good for your skin and hair, which makes it an ideal hydrating fruit for the hot humid weather in July and August. In fact, Cypriots love watermelon so much they even use the thick white rind to make a spoon sweet called glikol tou koutaliou.
What is halloumi?
One of the most common pairings for watermelon is halloumi cheese. Halloumi is a semi-hard, brined cheese traditionally made with sheep and goats’ milk, often referred to as traditional village halloumi. Today it is mostly produced with cow’s milk which makes the cheese milder and softer. Slices of locally made halloumi are usually served with watermelon for breakfast or a light snack. This recipe for halloumi and watermelon salad is ideal for a light summertime lunch. Cubes of halloumi are lightly fried in extra virgin olive oil until golden. The flavor works well with sweet chunks of watermelon, fresh mint, and salty throumbes olives (dry salted black olives).
How to fry halloumi
When frying or grilling halloumi cheese, make sure the slices are not too thin and do not cook too many at the same time, as the moisture from the cheese is released into the pan initially. Frying in smaller batches results in crispy halloumi that’s still soft inside.
Where to find halloumi
We found ours at Trader Joe’s. You can also purchase at Whole Foods Market and any traditional Mediterranean store or any store with a large cheese selection.
Check out more Mediterranean recipes from Irini Savva at www.irinisavva.com.
Plus, here are some grilling recipes that would pair nicely with halloumi and watermelon salad:
Chicken Souvlaki with Grilled French Bread
Grilled Lamb Chops (Lamb Lollipops)
Grilled Marinated Summer Vegetables
Halloumi and Watermelon Salad (Cyprus)
- 1/2 large watermelon (approx. 5 pounds)
- 250 grams Halloumi cheese (8-9 ounces)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 10-15 throumbes (dried, salted black olives) or kalamata olives
- 1/4 tsp black sesame seeds
- Fresh mint leaves to serve
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp raw grape vinegar (use balsamic if you ca't find grape)
- Slice the watermelon into medium sized triangles or cubes and place in a large platter.
- Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a large ceramic or non-stick frying pan. Rinse the halloumi and pat dry. Chop into cubes. Lightly fry small batches of the cheese at a time until golden and set aside to cool a little.
- To assemble the salad, top the watermelon with cooled halloumi, olives, mint leaves and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Combine the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the top. Serve immediately.
Leave A Comment