I invited Lisa over to my place for our fairly new tradition of cooking dinner for one another’s birthday. (This very blog idea was born a mere two months ago, when Lisa cooked dinner for me!) Since the weather was forecast to be hot and humid that day, I didn’t want to use my oven too much and thus settled on this salad as the starter for our meal.
I know, I know… another salad recipe reviewed by Cindy. BUT JAMIE IS THE KING OF SALADS! Much like its cousin, grilled peach salad with bresaola and a creamy dressing, the strawberry salad with speck and halloumi is another spectacularly delicious home run.
The recipe is ridiculously easy to follow and so quick to make. I followed 99% of the recipe, with the exception of pressing the basil leaves into the cheese. Instead, I simply tore up the basil with the mixed salad leaves. And good news: I was going to simply grab some prosciutto for this recipe, but I was able to find organic speck (smoked, cured, thinly sliced pork) at Safeway.
Again, the combo of sweet and salty ingredients in this recipe is so tasty! Topped off with herby undertones and an acidic dressing… I just, I could eat this salad every day.
Recipe Rating: 5 Knives out of 5
[Also, I know what you’re thinking: “You fed Lisa a salad for her birthday dinner?” Nah, I’m a much nicer friend than that! I followed up the salad with a cast iron seared steak (seasoned very simply) topped with pan fried shrimp that were tossed in a herb, chilli and lime dressing that I somewhat adapted from Jamie’s recipe here.]
Strawberry Salad with Speck and Halloumi
12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
Good-quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few sprigs fresh basil, leaves picked
9 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 8 thin slices
A few sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked
A handful mixed salad leaves, washed and spun dry
8 slices speck (or prosciutto, or serrano ham)
Most people think of strawberries as something they’d only eat for dessert, but they work so well in salads. Especially when paired with halloumi cheese, which I just love. It’s a Cypriot cheese made from goat’s or sheep’s milk and you can get it from all good supermarkets. It’s like a chewy feta but one you can cook with. When fried or broiled it goes all crispy on the outside and soft and slightly chewy on the inside. A brilliant thing to eat.
In a bowl, drizzle the sliced strawberries with a good splash of balsamic vinegar, the lemon juice and some extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. This will draw out and flavor the lovely strawberry juices.
Preheat a large nonstick frying pan to medium hot and add a splash of olive oil. Press a basil leaf onto each slice of halloumi. Place the slices, leaf side down, in the frying pan and fry for a minute. Turn over carefully and fry for another minute until the halloumi is light golden and crisp.
Get yourself 4 plates and place a couple of pieces of the crispy halloumi on each. Put the mint, the rest of the basil leaves and the salad leaves into the bowl with the strawberries and toss together. Pile some of the strawberry mixture in the middle of each plate and drape the speck over the top. Finish with more salad leaves. To serve, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.