Walking into my local Turkish grocer recently, I paused to absorb the heady atmosphere of approaching summer. I left with a big bundle of basil, mint and dill, some ripe tomatoes and haloumi cheese, which found their way into dinner that night.
2 x 250g pieces of haloumi cheese (a very good one is the Pittas brand from Cyprus)
half a small red onion, thinly sliced
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ cup basil leaves, torn
2 heaped tsp sumac*
salt and pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
flour for dusting
4 tbsp olive oil
juice of half a lemon
*Ground sumac, a berry with a tangy, lemony flavour, can be found in Middle Eastern foodstores.
Cut the haloumi into 2cm thick slices.Make a salad from the onion, tomatoes, basil and sumac, and dress with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar and set aside.
Heat a non-stick or heavy-based pan. Lightly dust the cheese in flour and shake off excess. Pour olive oil into the pan and add slices of the haloumi. Cook very quickly until golden on both sides, then remove to a platter.
Squeeze over some lemon juice, then scatter the salad over and serve.