Char-grilled fennel and carrot salad with champagne vinegar, tarragon and fried haloumi

Karen Martini
Smoky salad: Grilled fennel and carrot salad with fried haloumi cheese.
Smoky salad: Grilled fennel and carrot salad with fried haloumi cheese. Photo: Bonnie Savage
Difficulty
Easy

This salad works beautifully with grilled meat or chicken and makes a perfect partner for a baked whole fish. It can even take the spotlight, with a bit of support from a grain salad or some buttery couscous. If you can, grill the carrots and fennel over real coals; the char adds a dimension to the salad that makes it something quite special. The next best option is a gas barbecue, which will work well, although you won't get the gentle smokiness of a real fire.

Ingredients

2 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, finely grated

5 tarragon sprigs, picked

2 tbsp champagne vinegar

zest and juice ½ orange

1 tsp brown sugar

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 carrots, unpeeled

1 fennel bulb, fat and plump with fronds attached (or 2-3 baby fennel)

oil, for shallow frying

250g haloumi

 

Method

1. Combine the onion, garlic, tarragon, vinegar, orange zest and juice, sugar, one teaspoon of salt flakes and one tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Cut the carrots lengthways into three slices each. Cut the fennel lengthways into just under one-centimetre-thick slices, reserving the fronds to garnish. Add the sliced vegetables to a bowl, drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss carefully, ensuring that the fennel slices remain intact, and set aside for five minutes.

3. Grill the carrot and fennel over medium-hot coals for about three minutes on each side until tender and nicely charred. Add the vegetables to the dressing as they come off the grill.

4. Heat a couple of centimetres of oil in a medium frying pan. Crumble the haloumi into pieces about the size of a 20 cent coin and fry until golden. Drain briefly on paper towel.

5. Arrange the salad on a serving platter. Scatter over the haloumi and fennel fronds and serve.


TIPS

1. You could also grill spring onion batons, sliced beetroot or parsnip for this.

2. Dolloping soft goat's cheese on the salad is a good alternative to the fried haloumi.

3. If you can't find any tarragon, oregano or marjoram would work well.

 

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