WARM KABOCHA, BACON & HALLOUMI SALAD

I’m quite obsessed with Kabocha Squash at the moment. It’s my favorite winter squash for roasting because it’s so dense. If you slice it thinly, and roast on high with a little olive oil, you’ll get the best ever squash chips.

This salad is exquisite – the sweet, roasted squash partnered with smokey applewood bacon, bitter dandelion greens and salty halloumi cheese. It is a perfect fall/Winter supper – warm, filling and oh my – so tasty!

Warm Kabocha, bacon & Halloumi Salad

1/2 cup pecans

1/4cup olive oil

Salt & Pepper

1 small- medium squash

1 small bunch dandelion greens, washed

8 rashers applwood smoked bacon

1 large shallot, minced

2tbsp olive oil

2tsp red wine vinegar

1 packet Greek Halloumi Cheese, cubed

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Toss the pecans in a little oil and roast for about 10 minutes or until crispy.

Turn up the heat to 425 F.

Half the squash and scoop out seeds. Peel with a sharp knife and cut into wedges. Toss in the olive oil and season well. Roast for 35 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Arrange the dandelion leaves on serving plates.

Stack the bacon and cut into 1/2 inch rectangles.

Mix the olive oil and vinegar in a small cup. Season with salt & pepper.

Heat a frying pan and fry bacon until it begins to turn crispy, add the shallots and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the dressing and fry for another 2 minutes.

Heat a griddle pan and fry the Halloumi for 3 minutes on each side.

Assemble the squash on the leaves. Sprinkle with the bacon – pour the warm dressing over the salad. Finally top with the cheese and pecans.

HALLOUMI CHEESE KEBABS

In the Summer months I love to use Halloumi Cheese – I’m actually a bit obsessed with it when it comes to grilling because it has a really high smoke point, meaning that it is perfect to throw on the grill. Halloumi cheese originally came from Cyprus and was made from sheep’s milk. Nowadays it’s often made from cow’s milk, but if you can get you hands on some made from sheep’s milk, it’s much tastier (I think Wholefoods carries it.) You can always ask you local grocery store to get some in for you. Halloumi Cheese that is uncooked has a thick waxy texture, which is perfect for threading onto kebab sticks. When melted, it’s insanely delicious – all gooey and slightly salty.

If you are in a hurry, as I always am, this is a great recipe for an al fresco dinner or a quick lunch. You can use any Summer veggies you want, but I think the best combo is what I’ve put together for this recipe. Once you’ve done your shop, marinate the halloumi right away because it needs a few hours to soak in all the lovely herbs.

You can either serve it with rosemary oven-roasted potatoes (a personal favorite,) or stuff them into a warm wholewheat pitta.

Halloumi Cheese & Veggie Kebabs

The amounts of the following ingredients will obviously depend on how many you are cooking for.

1 pack of Halloumi cheese

4tbsp olive oil

1cup chopped fresh herbs: mint, oregano, basil, thyme (whatever you have to hand, but definitely include mint.)

Assorted veggies: Onion, green & red bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini (all cut into bite sized chunks.)

Place the oil and herbs in a medium bowl or pyrex container, and blend well. ┬áChop up the cheese into bite sized cubes and add to bowl. Mix the cheese around making sure it’s well

coated with marinade.

Cover your bowl/container and chill for at least 2 hours – better if you leave it overnight. The best way is to make this in a reusable glass or plastic container with a lid because whenever you remember, you can give it a good shake to make sure that the cheese gets re-coated.

Make sure your veggies are chopped into perfect bite-sized chunks, except for mushrooms, which should stay whole.

If you are using bamboo sticks, soak them in cold water for about 30 minutes prior to using. Thread veggies and cheese onto sticks.

Place on a medium grill for about 10 minutes, continually turning.

When cooked, the veggies should be well grilled and the cheese browned.

I love to serve with roasted new potatoes, as I think melted cheese and waxy Summer potatoes are a marriage made in heaven.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes:

Chop new or fingerling potatoes into bite sized chunks and place in a bowl. Coat with olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, sea salt and pepper. Use your fingers to coat the potatoes well. Arrange them in a singe layer in a baking tin and cook in a hot oven (400 F) for about 30 minutes.