I feel pretty damn lucky to be able to experience the best of the summer seasons in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and really do make the most of the summer provisions. Currently at the markets, nectarines, plums, peaches, melons, berries and avocados are all in abundance, so I’m happily concocting delightfully fruity combinations like this summery salad to share with you here in the warmer climes. For those in the deep south, summer is just around the corner, so sit tight and watermelons will soon show their bright faces again.
Watermelons are peaking right now here in beautiful Berlin – juicy, sweet and oh-so-lecker, I just can’t get enough. Watermelon really is the bees knees. It is a super satisfying fruit which quenches thirst, the perfect fodder for cruising down the canal in a blowup rowboat on a bright, sunny day. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, which assists the body in fighting infection (a bonus if you happen to fall in the canal). It is also especially good for men as it has a generous dose of lycopene, a cartenoid which not only assists in keeping the prostate gland in tip-top shape, it is also beneficial to cardiovascular health.
As you may know, I’m staying in Neukölln, a highly eclectic area of Berlin with an array of cultural diversity and naturally, all of the foodie delights that come with it. In actual fact, it seems that anywhere in Berlin you can’t swing a shopping basket without hitting a Middle Eastern kebab shop, Greek restaurant or Turkish supermarket. If I’m eating out, one of my favorite dishes has to be anything with fried halloumi, whether in a kebab with felafel or as the pièce de résistance atop of a salad. Fried halloumi is something of a revelation for me. I’ve only recently discovered just how easy it is to cook this “squeeky cheese” and how it is the perfect accompaniment to so many things, as the salty richness lends itself perfectly to the sweetness of fruit and sweeter vegetables like capsicum, tomato and beetroot. It also provides a hearty dose of calcium which is fundamental to bone development, plus protein which is good for rebuilding muscle after a strenuous day rowing. Due to the robust texture and strong flavor of Halloumi, a little really does go a long way, so it’s possible to cut down on the high fat content and earn extra health points by reducing calories from fat where possible.
So, celebrate the last of the summer sun by grabbing your paddles and heading out on the canal for an afternoon of swan spotting whilst devouring this lush salad.
Watermelon, Halloumi and Mint Salad with Tamari Toasted Pepitas
200 – 250 grams of Halloumi
Olive oil for frying and drizzling
1/4 of a cup of pumpkin seeds
A tablespoon of tamari
1 kg of the brightest watermelon you can lay your hands on
A handful of mint leaves, plus extra for garnishing
A large bunch of rocket
The juice of half a lemon
Ground Himalayan rock salt and cracked pepper to taste
Heat a frying pan to a medium temperature and toast the pepitas until lightly browned, moving them around the pan often. Coat the pepitas in tamari, remove from the heat and transfer to another dish to cool.
Wash and dry the pan and place back on the heat. Add a good glug of olive oil to the pan and allow to heat. Cut the halloumi into small slices (about 1/2 cm thick) and place in the pan. Fry until golden brown and flip over to brown the other side. Remove the rind of the watermelon, cut into rustic pieces and remove the seeds where possible.
Arrange the rocket, mint, watermelon and halloumi onto a large serving plate or smaller individual plates. Mix the lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil and drizzle over the salad. Sprinkle with tamari toasted pepitas and season with Himalayan rock salt and pepper. Serve immediately while the halloumi is still warm. Guten Appetit, meine Lieblings!