This salad is very much inspired by a delicious salad I had at 26 Grains of Stoney Street in March, just before the Covid 19 lockdown. It was really delicious, but maybe it has stayed with me because it was almost the last thing I ate out before all the restaurants closed and we were all confined to eating at home until goodness knows when. I hadn’t thought of using dried figs in a salad before but if you have some/can buy some (I got mine in the Asian supermarket in Belfast) then I encourage you to try, they are really very yummy.
I know this salad has lots of fancy ingredients that you might not have in your fridge or your cupboard but it really is a mix and match salad – you need the salad leaves, something salty (in this case the halloumi, something sharp and fruity (the grapefruit), something sweet (the figs) and something crunchy (the pumpkin seeds) – but within that framework you can substitute different ingredients. I’ve added the dill and mint because I have lots in the garden at the moment, but leave them out if you don’t have them, or add some coriander sprigs, basil leaves, chopped chives or flat leaf parsley instead.
Something salty could be crumbled feta, salty ham (Serrano, Parma, Iberico), mozzarella (seasoned with a little sea salt), goat’s cheese etc
Something sharp & fruity could be oranges, blood oranges, pears, nectarines, peaches
Something sweet could be chopped dates, dried cranberries or apricots
Something crunchy could be toasted sunflower seeds, roasted hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or fried almonds (so delicious)
If you aren’t using the citrus fruit then replace the juice in the dressing with a dessert spoon of vinegar. red wine, white wine, sherry, apple cider or a nice balsamic will all work.
Serves 2-6 (2 as a main meal, 6 as a side dish)
1 pink grapefruit
6 dried figs
200g halloumi, cut into 1cm slices and then into 2cm squares, we used Toons Bridge Halloumi
100g salad leaves (we’re using our own leaves with a mix of different lettuce & mustard leaves)
A small handful of mint
A small handful of dill
20g toasted pumpkin seeds
A generous drizzle of honey
A pinch of pul biber (aleppo pepper) chilli flakes (optional)
For the dressing:
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp reserved pink grapefruit juice
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
Salt & pepper
Put the dried figs into a small bowl. Boil the kettle and pour some boiling water over the figs, until they are covered. Leave aside for 30 minutes, this just helps them re-hydrate a bit.
Segment the pink grapefruit, being careful to reserve the juices. If there are any really chunky segments cut them in half. If you can’t be bothered to properly segment the grapefruit (removing the peel and the membrane around each segment) then just peel the fruit and chop up the pieces roughly.
Make the salad dressing by combining all the ingredients in a jar and shaking really well. Put the salad leaves in a bowl with the mint leaves and sprigs of dill. Toss to combine.
Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan on the hob over a medium heat. Once hot add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Add the halloumi and fry for a minute or two on each side until beautifully mottled and golden. You may need to do this in two batches.
Meanwhile cut up the soaked figs – into slices or segments. Dress the green salad until it glistens (you might not need all the dressing), toss through the figs and pink grapefruit segments. But in a bowl and top with the fried halloumi, toasted pumpkin seeds, a good drizzle of honey and the chilli flakes.