Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Good Life - Haloumi with Melon and Avocado in a Mint-Lime Dressing

I've notice a trend amongst food-bloggers. It seems at some point in their youth, everyone went to France and since then, food has taken center stage in the daily fantasies. Thinking about that first lick of gelato which made store-bought ice cream seem like a cruel punishment, the bread which made all other bread taste like cardboard, the pastries (oh the pastries) the cheese (oh GOD, the cheese!) and, in my case, the champagne that accompanied breakfast.

My French exchange Father served me my first taste of champagne at my arrival dinner, the night I realized champagne and I were made for each other. He delighted in seeing my face after that first sip and thought it was quite funny. While we were on vacation in Corsica, he always poured a small glass with my morning orange juice. He would laugh and tell me I was meant for the good life in France. I couldn't have agreed more. Needless to say, we got along like gangbusters.

Another regular on the table in Corsica was the melon wrapped in prosciutto. A French classic. It's the perfect blend of sweet and salty. One I like to try and re-create again and again during the summer, desperately tyring to make it taste as I remember it that summer in Corsica when I was 16. Sadly, it never tastes quite as good, but that's true of just about everything that's not in France.

I stumbled across this recipe on Design Sponge, and it reminded me of that sweet and salty combination I love so much. The saltiness comes from the haloumi (one of my favorite cheeses) and it adds mint and avocado. The haloumi is a perfect replacement when you want something vegetarian. I adapted it slightly by adding more lime

Haloumi, Melon, and Avocado salad with lime-mint dressing

adapted from Melina Hammer of Design Sponge
Serves 4

1 cantaloupe
2 avocados
2 blocks of haloumi (8 ounces each)
1/4 cup chopped mint
juice from 2 limes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix mint, olive oil and the juice of 1 lime together. Set aside.

Cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out its seeds. Use a larger size melon ball tool to hollow out spheres from its flesh. Do the same with the avocados, using the smaller size of the melon baller. Dress the avocado balls in the juice of the 1 remaining lime to keep it from turing brown.

Slice the haloumi into 1/2 inch slices. Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into a skillet and heat over medium high. When the oil is hot, add the haloumi and sear until brown on each side. The second side will take less time than the first.

Place the cheese in a serving dish. Top with melon and avocado balls and dress with the mint-lime dressing. Serve while hot.

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