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Warm Halloumi & Chicory with Pomegranate & Walnuts

Halloumi

Yotam Ottolenghi's halloumi and chicory with pomegranate and walnuts: Can be described in one word - yum! 

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The combination of walnut and pomegranate seeds and/or pomegranate molasses is a pretty common one all around the Middle East, but it's particularly prevalent in central Asia, in the area around the Caspian Sea – the Georgians, for example, make a salsa similar to the one I use here and serve it with aubergine. The sweet tartness of pomegranate mellows the sometimes harsh bitterness of walnut, which results in a sharp and potent nutty-fruity mix. This salsa is good mixed with cooked butterbeans, to serve up as a delicious antipasto, or used just as it is as a bruschetta topping. Serves four to six.

150g pomegranate seeds (ie, what you'll get from 1½ pomegranates)
50g walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
1½ tsp caster sugar
Salt and black pepper
20g fresh coriander
250g halloumi, cut into 1cm slices
2 heads each red and white chicory

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, mix together the pomegranate seeds, walnuts, garlic, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, half the olive oil, half the sugar and some salt and pepper. Pick a few coriander leaves and set them aside to use as a garnish later, finely chop the remaining leaves and stems, and stir into the dressing. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and fry the halloumi slices for a minute on each side, until they're a nice golden-brown colour. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Cut each chicory into quarters lengthways, so the stem holds the leaves together. Fry the chicory in two batches in the same pan as the halloumi, adding the remaining sugar and plenty of salt and pepper. Toss as you cook each batch for about a minute, just to colour a little on the outside. You may need to add a little bit of oil. Arrange the warm halloumi and chicory on a serving plate and spoon over the dressing.

Shred the reserved coriander leaves and sprinkle on top.

 

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