one of the things i miss most about my old life now that i'm in this new busy time with the twins and my toddler is the ease of being able to whip up some new recipes for dinner. lately i'm lucky if i can throw in one of the previously cooked meals i made before the babes arrived, so getting a meal actually cooked from scratch is a rarity. however! on one of those rare perfect days where all kids are sleeping, i attempted a couple new recipes and both were absolutely amazing! so much so, that i am going to post them both on here back to back so you can try them at home too.
first one up took a little prep time but was super easy to make. just give yourself some time to get each step done and you won't feel stressed at all. trust me - it is worth the wait and such a crowd pleaser. also! those tomatoes are flipping' to die for!
grilled asparagus, zucchini, and haloumi
[adapted from the ottolenghi cookbook]
12 oz/350g cheery tomatoes, halved
9 tbsp olive oil
24 asparagus spears
7 oz/200g haloumi cheese, sliced 3/4-inch or 2 cm thick [original recipe called for manouri cheese, but any grilling cheese would work well. i personally love haloumi cheese]
1 1/4 cups arugula
coarse sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
**basil oil [see recipe below]
1] preheat the oven to 325F. mix the tomatoes with 3 tbsp of the olive oil and season with some salt + pepper. spread them out on a baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper, skin side down. roast in the oven for 50 minutes, until semi-dried. remove from the oven and leave to cool.
2] trim the woody bases of the asparagus and blanch in plenty of boiling water for 4 minutes. drain and refresh under cold water, making sure the spears are completely cold. drain well again, then transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and some salt + pepper.
3] slice the zucchini very thinly lengthwise, using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler. mix with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and some salt + pepper.
4] place a ridged grill pan over high heat and leave there for a few minutes. it should be very hot. grill the zucchini and asparagus, turning them over after about a minute. you want to get nice char-marks on all side. remove and leave to cool.
5] heat the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan. fry the haloumi cheese for 3 minutes on each side, until it is golden. place on paper towels to soak up the excess oil. alternatively, grill the cheese on the hot grill pan for about 2 minutes on each side.
6] make the basil oil [recipe below].
7] to assemble, arrange the arugula, vegetables, and cheese in layers on a flat serving plate. try to build the salad up while showing all the individual components. drizzle with a much basil oil as you like and serve.
5 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup basil leaves
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1] mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. keep any leftover oil in the fridge for future salads.