This is a refreshing and bright salad full of texture. The salty haloumi is perfectly foiled by the sweet charry watermelon and the cucumber adds an excellent crunch.
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced and rinsed in cold water
- 180 g rindless watermelon, cut into a 2 cm-thick block
- 50 g pitted Kalamata olives
- 70 ml robust extra virgin olive oil
- 20 ml cider vinegar
- 200 g haloumi, cut into 1 cm-thick slices
- 1 cup round-leafed mint leaves
- ½ lemon, for squeezing
- grapeseed or olive oil, for cooking
- river salt
- black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 10 minutes
Use a peeler and strip away about half of the cucumber skin. I like to leave a little attached as it gives a nice texture to the salad.
Place your cucumbers on a chopping board and use the flat part of a cleaver to gently bash down along each of the cumbers. Your aim is to squash it enough so it starts to break apart a little. Once you have achieved this, cut the cucumbers on an angle into 3 cm chunks. Scoop them off the board, shake off any excess liquid and place them into a mixing bowl. Add in the rinsed and squeezed onion.
Add a good couple of pinches of salt, toss to combine and set aside. It needs to sit for at least 10 minutes but it will be fine hanging out for an hour or so.
Place a chargrill pan over a high heat and brush your watermelon block with a little grapeseed oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Once your pan is hot, place the watermelon on it. You want to cook it gently for about 3 minutes each side or until you have nice char marks.
In the meantime, combine the olives, olive oil and vinegar in a large mixing bowl.
Once the watermelon is cooked, remove it from the pan and cut it into a rough 2 cm dice before placing it in the bowl with the olives.
Meanwhile, have a heavy-based frying pan on a high heat, give it a good few moments to get hot and then add in a generous amount of grapeseed oil. Let the oil heat for a moment or so before gently slipping in the haloumi slices. Give the cheese a few minutes or so on each side or until you get a nice amount of colour. Remove the haloumi from the pan, cut it into a rough dice and add to the watermelon mix. Add in a squeeze of lemon juice and give it all a good toss.
Drain the cucumber and add it to the watermelon. Give your salad another mix and check the seasoning. Once you are happy, tear in the mint leaves and gently mix them through.
• This salad is best made and eaten straight away as haloumi isn’t at its best when left for too long.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Tiffany Page.
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This recipe is part of The seasonal cook: Cucumber column.
View previous The seasonal cook columns and recipes.