We had gorgeous weather on the weekend and after a day out and about I whipped together a hearty but summery salad that went down quite a treat. It was late in the afternoon and we were going out for dinner so I didn’t want anything too much, yet we were really hungry.
It was a taste sensation, with sweet rich tomatoes, salty hot cheese, tangy soft mushrooms and peppery rocket.
1 lemon, juiced
I had an excess of tomatoes and for the first time tried oven-dried tomatoes, which I popped into the oven before we went out. Oven-drying tomatoes brings out their flavour and sweetness ten-fold.
Heres how I did it:
Preheat oven to 100°C.
Remove core from tomatoes and halve or quarter lengthwise (this depends on the look that you want - halved tomatoes will take longer to dry). Sprinkle cut surfaces with salt and pepper.
Place tomatoes, cut side up on wire racks over baking trays; bake in preheated oven 1 - 4 hours. Check tomatoes to test their dryness. If necessary bake further until dried as desired.
I worked at a fancy Indian restaurant some years ago, and one of my favourite things on the menu were Tandoori Mushrooms. I stayed on at this restaurant much longer than I should have as I loved the team we had there, but also in the naive hope that I would gain some of secrets to their famous recipes. I always asked questions and tried to pick up what the cooks were up too, but didn’t have too much luck. The mushrooms are probably the closest I can get to anything they made. I have attempted those mushrooms often, and although they’re not perfectly like the ones at my old work place, they’re fantastic.
What I do is, combine some balsamic vinegar, seeded mustard, and salt and pepper and a splash of water and let the mushrooms seep up this mixture. Next, I remove them from the marinade and put them under a hot grill for 5-10 minutes. You can serve these as a great appetiser or on bruschetta with fresh coriander or basil.
Next I sliced up the haloumi, heated up a little olive oil in a fry and pan added the slices of haloumi cheese. After a minute or less, I turned them to cook the other side. I removed them from the frypan and allowed the cheese to drain on paper towels.
Now combine it all, add the washed rocket leaves, fried haloumi, mushrooms, tomatoes, and dress with a little olive oil, lemon and salt and pepper and serve with some nice bread.