Today’s post and recipe is a shout out to our dear Cypriot friends in North Cyprus.
I keep telling Umut I just might head down there in the fall and help out with his family’s olive harvest. By October, we could have snow already here in Warsaw so I think I should have a backup plan that includes sunshine.
This week, I finally harvested my first batch of arugula grown on our spacious 40-meter terrace. I have so much space I don’t know what to do with it all, which is drastically different from my Apartment Gardening in Istanbul. I started the arugula seeds in May shortly after we moved in, and seven weeks later they have been growing like weeds from all the rain.
What goes great with homegrown arugula? Why grilled halloumi cheese from Cyprus, of course! Luckily, we recently discovered the cutest cheese shop near our apartment called La Fromagerie, which specializes in imported cheeses.
Halloumi is a traditional semi-hard cheese in Cyprus that has a high melting point, so it can easily be fried or grilled. It’s a popular cheese in Greece too.
While I do love halloumi cheese, I especially was excited to find a familiar food from our Turkey trips. I’ve been missing our Turkish friends, Turkish food and just about everything (except the traffic) from Istanbul. I laughed when my husband noticed the label said the cheese was from Nicosia, Cyprus.
For dinner, I make a fresh salad nearly every night. I used a generous cutting of arugula, plus sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and the grilled halloumi cheese topped with a garlic-nar-olive oil dressing. We liked this salad so much I made it two nights in a row.
Whether you are in Poland, Turkey or America, I hope you enjoy this summer salad as much as we did!
Smacznego! (Bon appétit in Polish)
Arugula Salad with Grilled Cypriot Halloumi Cheese
A good bunch fresh arugula
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 ea. cucumber, sliced
100 g. Halloumi cheese
As needed olive oil and dried oregano
For the dressing:
1 ea. garlic clove, finely minced
1 T. Turkish olive oil
1 T. nar ekşisi sosu (pomegranate molasses)
To taste salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Alternatively, you can emulsify the ingredients better if you pulse in a small food processer for a minute.
2. Then heat a kitchen grill or frying pan over medium-high heat.
3. Slice the halloumi cheese about ¼-inch thick. Set aside on a cutting board. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano.
4. Place the halloumi in the hot grill pan, giving the slices a minute or two on each side. The cheese will soften slightly as it cooks and get slightly browned.
5. In a medium-sized salad bowl, toss the arugula, tomatoes and cucumbers with the dressing. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve the pieces of halloumi over the salad and eat immediately.
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