It was beyond fun to have Jessica in town a couple of weeks ago. Even though I wish she were still here, we did an excellent job making the most of our time together (as she so perfectly described in her cobbler post). Cooking on Saturday night was a definite highlight and even planning the meal was fun. Jessica, ever generous, offered to let me post the recipe for the grilled corn and halloumi salad we made, even though she gets all the credit for finding it.
We were driving to dinner on Friday night, discussing our Saturday menu, when the topic of a fun salad came up. Jessica remembered seeing an eye-catching corn salad on one of the Bon Appétit editor’s Instagram pages. She couldn’t remember if it was former BA editor Alison Roman or current BA editor Julia Kramer (a perfectly normal conundrum to anyone who spends time ogling food illuminati’s Instagram accounts). She dug through her feed and found it: it was a Roman recipe that Kramer cooked and posted. Of course. The recipe was for “Corn and Fregola Salad” and it looked like an intriguing way to use more sweet corn and to broaden our grilling chops-both the corn and some halloumi cheese take turns toasting over the flames.
A quick aside/dose of validation for all of the food magazine hoarders out there: when it came time to make the salad, I was happy that I still had my copy of the July 2015 BA issue because it’s so much easier to cook from the magazine than an iPhone–even more so when two people want to look at the recipe at the same time. Jessica made this salad again when she got back to Brooklyn and she also used her hard copy, making her dinner party prep that much easier. See, husbands, we do use our old issues…
But back to the salad: it tasted even better than it looked on Instagram. The corn got smoky and a little charred on the grill, which made it a tad less sweet than usual, but still sweet enough to add an irresistible dimension to the dish. The halloumi was salty, squeaky, and toasty (if you’ve never literally grilled cheese, it’s worth it just for the mind bending experience of putting cheese over fire and watching it not melt). I love toasted walnuts in salads and they added the perfect crunch to balance the tender corn and chewy cheese. A big pile of herbs– parsley, basil, mint–were the only greens in the salad and they made everything taste fresher than fresh. Scallions gave the dish some edge and a very light vinaigrette held everything together. The three of us loved the combination of flavors and textures and kept going back for more. Of all of the salads I’ve tried this summer, this one is my favorite.
grilled corn and halloumi salad
adapted from “Corn and Fregola with Halloumi Cheese,” Bon Appétit July 2015
The biggest change we made was eliminating the fregola. We didn’t miss it at all.
The ingredients can be prepped ahead of time and tossed together right before serving.
Serves about 6.
1 cup walnuts
4 ears of corn, husked
2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces Halloumi cheese, sliced lengthwise ¾-inch thick
¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup basil leaves, torn into rough pieces
¼ cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake, turning once, for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Let cool and chop into coarse pieces.
Pre-heat grill for medium-high heat. Brush the ears of corn with 1 tbsp oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to cool.
Brush the slices of halloumi with oil. Place on grill and cook for 5 minutes, turning once. Cheese should develop nice grill marks. Remove from grill and allow to cool.
Cut corn kernels from cobs and place kernels in a large bowl. Add walnuts, scallions, parsley, basil, and mint. Tear the halloumi into bite-sized pieces and add to corn mixture. Stir to combine.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, the lemon juice, and white wine vinegar. Drizzle dressing over corn mixture until salad is dressed to your liking (I had about 2 tablespoons leftover). Taste for salt and pepper. Serve immediately.