This dish is featured as part of my Passover Prep Series – a collection of recipes good for Passover, or anytime of year! If this is your first time visiting Cara’s Cravings during the PPS, click here to read more about it.
This dish did not start out as one I planned to feature for my Passover series. It’s actually part of a multi-course interactive dinner party my friend Vanessa and I are catering. I confess that when we offered this course, I had never even tried Haloumi. Risky, maybe. But Vanessa had, and I trust her. I thought it sounded perfect for this event. It’s simple to prepare and involves few ingredients, yet elegant in presentation and flavor. For most of these guests it would likely be new and different, but the combination of a salty cheese with a lemony dressing and roasted asparagus is not unfamiliar or polarizing.
Don’t think I actually went ahead and served this at our function without actually trying it. Vanessa and I actually did a full trial run of the menu with some of our other friends to test out the recipes we had chosen with the wine pairings, and the entire scheduling of the meal in terms of what would be prepped when and how to divide up the tasks. The result was truly enlightening and we were thrilled to hear both positive feedback and constructive criticism on both the food and logistics.
While there was disagreement over some other aspects of the menu, one thing everyone seemed to enjoy was this course. And I don’t blame them! This dish has so much going for it. Because it comes together so quickly, you can easily get started on a main course that might take longer to cook, and then quickly throw together this first course. It’s bright and colorful with simple flavors that work beautifully together. And when paired with a Prosecco, it makes a truly fun course that cleanses the palette and prepares the eater for the heartier next course.
Almost immediately I decided this would be a perfect first course for my upcoming Passover Seder. This year my mother will host the first night and prepare many of our traditional family favorites, but for the past few years it’s become my personal tradition to explore the flavors of the Mediterranean and honor our Sephardic heritage. Since I plan to serve fish as the main course this year, I think this salad will fit in wonderfully.
I liked it so much that I was secretly pleased when Vanessa left an extra package of Haloumi cheese in my refrigerator, and I got to make the dish once again. This time I shared it with my parents, who were just as enthused about it as our friends the week before. That pretty much solidified what I will be serving on Passover – and I already can’t wait to eat this again!
What’s your favorite dish to prepare for a dinner party that’s easy to prepare and always pleasantly surprises your guests?
Sizzling Haloumi with Roasted Asparagus and TomatoesSlightly Adapted from Jill DupleixPrintable Recipe
8oz grape tomatoes
1 lb asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 package Haloumi cheese, 8.8oz
Preheat oven to 350F. Trim the asparagus by snapping off the tough, woody ends. Place the asparagus and tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with freshly ground salt & pepper. Toss to coat.
Roast for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, capers, pepper and parsley.
Heat a griddle over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the Haloumi slices for several minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven if necessary.
Arrange the asparagus and tomatoes on four plates, and top each with two slices of the seared Haloumi. Drizzle with the lemon-caper vinaigrette and serve immediately.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 19.0 g
Cholesterol: 41.8 mg
Sodium: 746.4 mg
Total Carbs: 12.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 17.1 g