Grilled Tomatoes With Halloumi and Basil Oil
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: Think of this as a deconstructed summery pizza that’s adaptable. You can swap the tomatoes for grilled peaches or watermelon, or switch out the basil oil for mint or fresh oregano oil. Serve it over a tangle of arugula or pile it onto freshly grilled flatbread. Halloumi is a semihard, unripened brined cheese with a high melting point, which makes it perfect for grilling or frying. The cheese is popular in the Middle East, Greece and Turkey. From “Vegetables on Fire,” by Brooke Lewy.
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 (about 9 oz.) pkg. halloumi cheese (see Note)
• Basil oil (see recipe)
Toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat grill to medium, and using a grill topper, cook until the tomatoes start to burst, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Cut the halloumi into planks. Brush each plank well with olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and grill the cheese until you can see the grill marks and it starts to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the planks and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Arrange cheese on plates, add the tomatoes and drizzle liberally with basil oil. Serve immediately as is, or with some arugula (pictured) or flatbread.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Note: From “Vegetables on Fire,” by Brooke Lewy.
• 2 c. fresh basil leaves, packed
• 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
In medium bowl, make an ice bath (fill with ice and cold water).
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add basil to boiling water and blanch just until leaves turn bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain and plunge basil into ice bath (or run under cold water immediately).
Once cool, gather the leaves into a ball and wring out as much water as possible. Transfer to a blender and add the olive oil. Blend until smooth. Set aside at room temperature if using the same day; otherwise refrigerate.
Basil oil can be made up to 3 days in advance. Bring to room temperature before using.