By Kristy Del Coro
This salad is the epitome of late summer. The combination of ripe Heirloom tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and sweet red onion is a simple way to make produce the star of the show. The other major player is the Halloumi cheese. Also known as "grilling cheese", Halloumi is a cheese that originates in Cyprus and is traditionally made from a goat's and sheep's milk or a combination of the two. It is much saltier than most cheeses so is a great pairing with sweet summer produce.
This salad is a spin off of a traditional Greek village salad (which would have feta cheese in place of halloumi and no bread) and an Italian Tomato Panzanella salad which would have more bread and fewer ingredients. There are so many ways you can make this salad your own or modify it based on what you are in the mood for (i.e. swap the halloumi for grilled chicken, add some different fresh herbs, etc). But in my opinion, the grilled bread is a must for soaking up all of the juices from the tomatoes and dressing left at the bottom of the bowl (the best part!). Lastly, the ingredients below are meant to be a guide - this is a very forgiving recipe so the amounts of ingredients do not have to be exactly as written. You can go heavier on the bread, lighter on the onion, add more olives, and so on. Trust your palate and taste as you go!
3 heirloom tomatoes or 6 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into large pieces
1 green pepper, large diced
1 small seedless cucumber (or 2-3 small Persian cucumbers), sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 thick slices sourdough bread
1 package Halloumi cheese (about 8 oz)
1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1 Tbsp dried oregano
pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
~2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Add tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, sliced red onion, and sliced Kalamata olives to a medium bowl.
Grill the bread: Heat a grill pan brushed with extra virgin olive oil and grill bread on both sides. Set aside.
Grill the halloumi: Brush the grill pan again with extra virgin olive oil. Add sliced halloumi and grill on both sides to warm through and get nice grill marks. Set aside.
Cube grilled bread and cubed halloumi into 2" pieces. Add both to bowl with salad ingredients.
Season the salad with dried oregano and pinch of salt.
Drizzle very generously with extra virgin olive oil and a few splashes of red wine vinegar. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Gently toss and serve with some extra crusty bread for soaking up the salad juices.