Monday, August 2, 2010

Chargrilled Vegetables like Ottolenghi does it

You wouldn't think a simple dish of chargrilled vegetables could taste any better, but it can.

Yes, Ottolenghi does it again, with this combination of fresh salad leaves, oven-roasted tomatoes, strips of finely sliced zucchini and chargrilled asparagus.  Just add some haloumi cheese and anoint the dish with basil and garlic-scented olive oil, and it's ambrosia on a plate.  How suitably poetic!

The original recipe calls for manouri cheese, a Greek semi-soft, fresh white whey cheese made from goat's or sheep's milk.  Haloumi cheese is a good substitute and is probably easier to find, which is why I've used it here.

Char-grilled Vegetable Salad with Haloumi
serves 2

250g cherry tomatoes, halved
5 tblsp olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
24 asparagus spears
2 medium zucchini (courgettes) 
120g haloumi, sliced
40g rocket or other salad leaves

Basil oil:
75ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
25g basil leaves
salt and black pepper, to season

1. Preheat the oven to 170C (375F). Spread the tomatoes onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and mix with three tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay them out, skinside down, on the baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes, until semi-dried. Set aside to cool.
2. Peel and trim the woody bases from the asparagus and blanch in boiling water for four minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water, drain, then transfer to a bowl and toss with one tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper.
3. Slice the zucchini very thinly lengthwise and mix with a tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper.
4. Place a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and leave for a few minutes until very hot. Grill the zucchini and asparagus, turning after a minute - or until char marks appear. Remove and leave to cool slightly.
5. Add the haloumi to the pan and fry for 2 minutes a side, or until golden. Drain on paper towel.
6. To make the basil oil, mix all the ingredients in a food processor (or in a bowl) until smooth.
7. Arrange the rocket, vegetables and cheese in layers on a flat serving plate - build up the salad while showing all the individual components. Drizzle with basil oil and serve.

Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook

Ingredients, fresh from the garden supermarket

Using a griddle pan will give nice grill marks on the vegetables and cheese

Serve with basil oil


  1. Your posts Bel
    could definitely turn me into a vegetarian. I see thing and think spring is just around the corner!

  2. Bel! You are making me obsess over this book even more! This looks so fresh and delightful! I think we should have a Ottolenghi Salad party!

  3. I haven't cooked anything from this cookbook but I definitely will do it soon. Love these grilled vegs.

  4. I really have to get the cookbook - do you have the first or second or both and which do you recommend?

    This looks really delicious and sounds straightforward - do you think it would work cooking all of it together on a large BBQ griddle plate instead of in stages (bring on summer)?

  5. I shall have to add Haloumi next time... I don't have this cookbook. I must go and check it out.

  6. Ooh Bel, your vegetables look so fresh & wonderful. I really need to grill-I haven't done so all summer! This salad sounds extra delicious with haloumi by the way-yum...

  7. What a beautiful dish! Looks like Summer on a plate - which incidentally is exactly what we all need especially in this crazy weather.

  8. what a beautiful salad, I am going to have to get some Haloumi for my girls..

  9. This is my kind of meal! Cheese and char-grilled veggies - can't beat that.

  10. I really love haloumi and I can imagine basil oil would give this salad a nice little twist!

  11. hi everyone! This salad is definitely a taste of summer (in winter). Got to say that I *love* haloumi and its salty squeakiness is just what this salad needs (sounding a bit Nigella Lawson there).
    And Sarah @ For the Love of Food - I have both Ottolenghi cookbooks, but I've only made dishes from the first one. The 2nd one ('Plenty') has plenty of pages bookmarked, though!

  12. I love chargrilled vegetables and haloumi always makes a vegetarian dish feel so much more substantial. Beautiful food styling too :)

  13. Gish, this looks amazing, yet so healthy. Who would've thought that the two combinations would marry well?! hehe

    A huge fan of grilled asparagus..

  14. Ooh yeah, love a bit of grilled veg & haloumi. Looks great!

  15. Oh how badly I want to squeak that cheese between my teeth!

    And to think there are people who don't like veges... mad, the lot of them..

  16. I really need to get a hold of that cookbook. I've heard (and seen) so many gorgeous things out of it! :D

  17. Great! They look delicious and I have to try this! I'm new here and see some great things. Thanks!

  18. I pretty much purchased a griddle pan just so I could get nice grill marks on things! =p

  19. very greek style dish, i love haloumi cheese!

  20. This looks delicious! Your photographs are beautiful as well!
    I've recently launched my own blog, I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! :) Thanks and Happy Cooking!