Baby Cos Salad with Peas & Haloumi

March 14, 2011

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A month or so back our vegetable garden finally materialized after years of hype and speculation. It’s funny when you actually start something after so much procrastination and then you realize it’s not very hard at all. Anyway, this here baby cos (romaine) lettuce is our very first harvest and it’s taught me that if there’s one thing you really ought to grow yourself, lettuce would be it. Fresh picked lettuce is just so much tastier and crunchier than store bought. I’m totally sold – there really is no comparison.

We still have a lot of food left over from when my family came up to stay a couple weeks back. They came to escape the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, and aside from the stressful circumstances in which they arrived it was lovely having them to stay. My Dad very generously filled our kitchen with so much food – more than we could have eaten during their stay – and so we’ve been picking our way through the goodies ever since. I made this salad on Friday night, a throw together of sorts that turned out spectacularly well.

Baby cos leaves, tossed with black grapes, peas, pan-fried haloumi and a honey-mint balsamic dressing. A very simple ingredient list but a stunning combination of flavours. The plump, tart black grapes really pop against the saltiness of the haloumi. It’s this kind of salty and fruity contradiction that I adore in a green salad.
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As I’m writing this it is 26C (79F) outside and the cicada symphony is in full swing. I know this not just because they’re drowning out all other neighborhood sounds, but because the cat just bought one into the house. And then she let it go. Cicadas are way, way noisier inside the house. So it’s not exactly weather that has me hankering for hot pasta with spicy tomato sauce. But let’s backtrack a week or two, when that big old scary storm finally crossed the Tasman Ocean and hit Auckland. Boy was it wet. And cold. Despite my initial recoil, it was actually nice to have a break from the peak-summer heat and enjoy some warm comfort foods again.


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