If you are thinking, "yeah right" I can't make that. Let me tell you, that you most definitely can. Just make sure you have a sharp knife. Peeling citrus with a knife always looked tricky to me but it's really not as bad as it seems. My slices were by no means even, but lay them out on a plate and no one will know. You never know what you can do until you try.
The cheese used in this recipe is called Halloumi. I was introduced to this cheese when I started learning more about vegetarian meals. Halloumi is a sheep and goats milk cheese made with non-animal rennet so it is acceptable for most vegetarians. This cheese is firm, salty, and instead of melting when heated it can be grilled or fried until it browns. When it is browned in a skillet it tastes divine over salad or just on its own as a snack. The saltiness of the Halloumi goes perfectly with the sweetness of the citrus fruit and topping it with some shallots and spicy micro-greens will satisfy all your taste sensations in one bite. I never knew that Halloumi was hiding in my local grocery store cheese section until I found it one day. If you can find some in your store give it a try, it is amazing!
Citrus Salad with Halloumi
An assortment of citrus fruit such as:
1 dark red grapefruit
2 honey tangerines
2 sunburst tangerines
1 navel orange
(you could also try blood oranges, mandarins, tangelos, Valencia oranges, pink or white grapefruit. Just keep the tart citrus to a minimum. You want the salad to be comprised mostly of the sweeter citrus varieties)
1 small shallot, minced
Coarse grey sea salt from France, Sel gris (or any coarse sea salt) to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 (8 oz pkg) Halloumi Cheese (made with non-animal rennet)
Daikon radish micro-greens (or a spicy mesclun or baby lettuce mix) SEE NOTE BELOW
Peel and slice the citrus using a sharp pairing knife. Slice off the ends of the citrus and stand it up on one of the sides. Carefully cut away the sides of the citrus with the knife trying to remove as little flesh as possible. Then slice the peeled citrus into rounds (You can see a picture of this above) removing any seeds as you go. Lay the slices of citrus out on a flat serving plate. Sprinkle the shallots, salt and pepper over the top, using as much as you would like depending on your taste. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and rice vinegar over the citrus as well, again using as much as you would prefer. At this point you could *pan fry the Halloumi and serve it right away or place the citrus plate in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it and right before it goes out, top it with *pan fried Halloumi. Sprinkle some micro-greens over the whole thing and watch the eyes of your guests widen in admiration.
*To pan fry the Halloumi you need to make 1/4-inch slices and lay them in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. As they start to fry you will see alot of liquid, keep frying over the same heat until this liquid evaporates. Check the undersides for browning and once they are browned to your liking flip them over and brown on the opposite side. Place on-top of the citrus salad and serve right away. (As the halloumi cools it will become a bit rubbery and chewier, which is why it is best served right after frying.)
Note: I like to grown my own micro-greens in my kitchen, which I have never known anyone else to do? (If you do too please let me know so I don't feel so weird) I have heard of a few places that sell micro-greens but if this is something you just can't find I would suggest using baby lettuce in a spicy variety like a mesclun mix. Put a layer of the lettuce down first and place the citrus on the top. Another idea for a party would be to place a large bowl of baby salad greens next to the citrus platter and encourage people to top their salad greens with the citrus salad. Hope this gives you a few more options for serving!