While cooking, listen to this:
PS: This is Rina's dad! Check out his bandcamp page here.
I've been binge-reading a column on The Cut called "I Think About This a Lot" and it is brilliant. BRILLIANT. Each article is about a meme or shared cultural experience that the author, well, thinks about a lot. There's one about Baby Jessica, one about Kanye West saying that George Bush doesn't care about black people, and so on. But the article in which I truly see myself is: "I Think About the Gossip Girl Murder Confession a Lot."
I literally think about this at least once a month.
The drama! The music! They really don't make TV like that anymore.
For the uninitiated, stop reading this and go binge watch the series on Netflix, then come back and join us.
Finished? Great! Let's continue.
I remember watching the episode with my sisters, freaking out about Serena's murder confession. Like, what do you mean you killed someone, babe?! Turns out she actually didn't, but that moment is seared in my brain forever.
Also, let it be known that I was actually kind of terrified of this scene, because for some reason I think Serena's eyes kind of look demon-like? I don't know, but I get all nervous during that scene even though I have watched it precisely 57 times.
Anyway, what the fuck does this have to do with a salad?
Well, I have things that constantly play in my brain, too. One of those things is the Gossip Girl murder confession, and another one of those things is halloumi, which is obviously on the same playing field. I think about it all of the time. I think about the halloumi from Jack's Wife Freda, I think about our halloumi fries, I think of the halloumi sandwich at Aroma...I basically think of all of the ways I can get halloumi into my mouth as swiftly as possible. That is how I came up with this salad: it is yet one more vehicle to get some fried halloumi into my face. And yours!
It takes just 15 minutes for this salad to come together, and that includes making the dressing and pan-frying the halloumi. Magic! A big bowl of kale, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds, avocado in TWO FORMS because one is never enough, and fried halloumi croutons? It's the perfect thing to eat while watching the Gossip Girl murder confession for the 58th time.
Love and meows, Rina
HALLOUMI KALE SALAD WITH AVOCADO DRESSING
Yield: 4-6 servings
Cook Time: 15m
Source: avocado dressing adapted slightly from Pinch of Yum
Special Equipment: food processor/high speed blender, cooling rack
half an avocado
¼ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup water, plus more to thin if necessary
1 small garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
squeeze of lime juice
few dashes hot sauce, optional
10 ounces kale, chopped with large stems removed
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch salt and black pepper
1 Tablespoon neutral oil (grapeseed, vegetable etc.)
1 package halloumi (9 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup pomegranate seeds*
1 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
1 avocado, cubed
*To de-seed a pomegranate: fill a bowl with water, cut the pomegranate along its equator, and then into segments. Submerge a segment in the water and remove seeds - any pithy bits will float to the top and the seeds will sink. When done, skim the bits off the top and then drain the seeds. Voila!
Make the dressing: in a food processor/high speed blender, add all of the ingredients and pulse until smooth. Add more water if you want it thinner, and add more salt/hot sauce to taste.
Fry the halloumi: place paper towels onto a cooling rack. Add 1 Tablespoon of neutral oil to a large pan and place on medium heat. When the oil is shimmery add the halloumi cubes in an even layer. Using tongs or a small heat-proof spatula, flip them over every so often to ensure even browning and no burning. When the cubes are a nice deep brown on all sides, place them on the paper towel-lined cooling rack to absorb any excess oil. Allow to cool slightly before putting in the salad.
Massage the kale: gross and weird, I know, but straight up raw kale can be a little rough. Add the kale to a large bowl, along with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and pinches of salt and black pepper. Mix together, massaging the oil, salt and pepper into the kale. This will make the kale softer and adds an extra layer of seasoning to the salad.
Assemble the salad: add the remaining ingredients to the kale, halloumi included. When ready to serve, mix in the dressing.
To keep: kale is sturdier than other greens so it holds up pretty well in the fridge for a day or two, even when dressed. For prime salad eating, however, assemble everything you need in advance, and only combine when you're ready to dig in.