Seared Halloumi Sandwiches on Focaccia
with Roasted Vegetables & Fuji Apple Salad
Halloumi is an amazing, semi-hard cheese. It has a distinct, layered texture, just like mozzarella. However, unlike mozzarella, halloumi is salted and the curds that form it are heated before it’s shaped and stored. This process gives halloumi an incredible texture. It can be seared until the outside is brown and crisp, while still maintaining its shape. It’s simple and unbelievably tasty. If you haven’t tried halloumi yet, you’re in for a treat!
- 8 Ounces Halloumi Cheese
- 2 Pieces Onion Focaccia
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Japanese Eggplant
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Fuji Apple
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 Teaspoon Sumac
- 3 Ounces Rocket Arugula
Prepare the ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Slice the halloumi cheese into four 1/8-inch thick slices. Cut each piece of focaccia in half horizontally. Slice the eggplant on an angle into ¼-inch rounds. Peel and mince the garlic then, using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste. Cut the lemon into quarters and remove the seeds. Cut the apple into thin matchsticks and toss with the juice of 1 lemon wedge. Remove and discard the ribs, seeds and stem of the pepper; quarter the pepper lengthwise.
Roast the vegetables:
Toss the eggplant slices and bell pepper with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a sheet pan in a single, even layer. Place in the oven and roast for 13 to 15 minutes, or until browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
Make the sumac mayonnaise & vinaigrette:
While the vegetables roast, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sumac, garlic and the juice of 1 lemon wedge. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Into a separate, medium bowl, squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon wedges and season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined.
Sear the halloumi:
While the vegetables continue to roast, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until very hot. (You can test the temperature by carefully placing a corner of one of the cheese slices to the oil. If it sizzles immediately, the oil is hot enough.) Add all of the halloumi and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until browned and warmed through. Transfer to a plate and set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pan.
Toast the focaccia:
In the same pan used to sear the halloumi, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Place the focaccia, cut side down, into the pan and toast 2 to 3 minutes, or until warm and browned. (Occasionally press the middle of the focaccia into the pan so it toasts evenly.) Transfer to the plate the cheese in on. Set aside in a warm place.
Assemble the sandwich & salad:
Once the bread is cool enough to handle, lay the toasted focaccia slices out on a work surface and spread a thin layer of sumac mayonnaise on each. Layer each focaccia bottom with 2 pieces of the seared halloumi. Top with the roasted peppers and eggplant. Complete the sandwiches with the focaccia tops. Just before plating, in a large bowl, combine the arugula and apple and toss with some of the vinaigrette (you may have extra vinaigrette). To plate your dish, divide the sandwiches and salad between 2 plates. Enjoy!