Escarole Salad With Smoky Halloumi Croutons
If you believe the only thing better than cheese is fried cheese, then you may just love halloumi. Because of its high melting point, halloumi browns before it melts, making it perfect for frying, grilling or any kind of searing. Here, it’s pan-fried with smoked paprika, then added to an escarole salad with a garlicky, lemony dressing. Slivered red onion adds pungency, while fresh parsley leaves brighten everything. If you can get the pomegranate seeds, do use them; they add a juicy sweetness that’s perfect with the richness of the cheese. Serve it by itself as a first or salad course, or with roasted vegetables, fish or chicken to round it out.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1small garlic clove, grated or pressed
- 1 ½tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 5tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
- 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 6ounces halloumi cheese, diced into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
- ¾teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (pimentón)
- 6cups escarole, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1cup parsley leaves and tender stems
- ½shallot, or 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, lemon juice and salt. Let sit for 30 seconds for the salt to dissolve, then whisk in olive oil. Taste and add more salt if needed. Set aside.
Step 2Prepare the salad: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high until it thins out, about 20 seconds. Add cheese and cook until golden on one side, 1 to 2 minutes, adding more oil if the pan dries out. Flip cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Let cook without moving until golden on the other side, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Step 3Put escarole, parsley and shallot in a large salad bowl. Add the dressing and warm halloumi, and toss well, adding more oil, lemon juice and salt, to taste. Serve immediately, strewn with pomegranate seeds, if you like.