I’ve been making use of our fall fruits in salads like arugula with pears, gorgonzola, and pecans and mixed greens with apples, pecans, and goat cheese. I can’t get enough of the mix of sweet, tart, nutty, and salty. With these flavors already on my mind, I had to try the Crispy Haloumi Cheese with Dates, Walnuts, and Apples recipe. And, I can never resist a dish with haloumi. Pitted dates, toasted walnuts, olive oil, sherry vinegar, pinches of salt, and some hot water were combined in a food processor and pureed until smooth. This paste formed the base of the dish. Next, cubes of haloumi were sauteed in oil until golden on all sides. These were set on top of the date paste. Last, an apple was cut into matchsticks, and I used a Benriner, and those little sticks were perched on top of the haloumi. Dill and Urfa pepper were sprinkled on top to finish the dish.
In the head note for this recipe, it’s mentioned that this dish cannot be taken off the menu at the restaurant because it is so well-loved. I can understand completely. This is such a good mix of textures and flavors, and haloumi works its magic when paired with something a little sweet like the dates here. And, crisp, fresh apple brightens the combination. Now, I need go shop for fideos to try that soup I mentioned, and I really want to attempt making Persian rice and about 20 other recipes as well.
Crispy Haloumi Cheese with Dates, Walnuts, and Apples
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
1 cup roughly chopped dried dates
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
8 ounces haloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 apple, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon ground Urfa pepper
Combine the dates, walnuts, olive oil, vinegar, a couple pinches of salt, and 1/2 cup hot water in a food processor and puree until smooth. Set the date paste aside.
Film a skillet with canola oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering but not smoking. Arrange the cheese cubes in a single layer in the skillet and cook, turning, until the exteriors are golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
Spread the date paste over the bottom of a serving plate and add the fried haloumi. Top with the apple, dill, and Urfa pepper, and serve immediately.
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