Grilled Manouri and Arugula Salad
I will start by explaining what manouri is. I’m not assuming you don’t know but am a little bit thinking that unless you are a foodie or come from an Eastern Mediterranean country, you probably don’t—I didn’t know what it was in my pre-blogging days. Manouri and halloumi (a similar cheese) are Greek goat or sheep’s milk cheeses that taste a little bit like goat cheese but are firmer and perfect for grilling as they do char beautifully without melting.
If you’ve ever made a dish you wanted badly just to realize you can’t have it, you know how depressing that is. After stopping at three different grocery stores to look for either halloumi or manouri, finding manouri, grilling it and making this salad, I realized that maybe I should google whether it is a cheese that’s suitable for pregnant girls. To my disappointment, I found out it was a raw-milk cheese which, like feta and goat cheese, is out of the question for me right now. My family enjoyed the fruits of my labor and that made the disappointment more tolerable although, well, not completely. I promised myself I would make me this salad as soon as the baby is out. It will be a lesson in patience. It will be well deserved.
When manouri is grilled, its firmness turns into a softer, creamier center (but not so creamy that it falls apart). Its saltiness gives way to a very savory, well balanced flavor. It is lovely, lovely over greens.
GRILLED MANOURI CHEESE, STONE FRUIT AND ARUGULA SALAD RECIPE
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 MIN
Cook Time: 5 MIN
2 nectarines, apricots or plums, cut into wedges
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and pepper
4 cups arugula
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Brush the cheese slices and fruit wedges with olive oil. Lightly season the cheese slices with salt and pepper. Grill the cheese slices and fruit wedges, 1 to 3 minutes per side or until nicely charred.
Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a mason jar and shake well to emulsify. Toss the arugula and grilled fruit in the vinaigrette.
Divide the salad among four plates. Top each salad plate with a slice of grilled cheese. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with some chopped pecans.
Serve immediately while the cheese is warm.
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