This post all began with the vinaigrette. It's a go-to sauce for me, since I have copious amounts of rosemary on hand. The fact that it's NOT 100 degrees but hovering around the upper 80's this week gave me the perfect excuse to pair this zippy rosemary vinaigrette with a grill platter. So, fire up some coals, grab a little glass of red wine, a loaf of crusty, chewy peasant bread, and make this platter!
This bold rosemary, chili, lemon and honey sauce is not at all dainty. It's even chunky, you get bits of rosemary, chili, and lemon zest. If you can mince, zest, and stir you can make it. It loves thick wedges of vegetables, hunks of bread, grilled fish and other meats or grilled Haloumi cheese. Halloumi is a firm (considered semi-hard) goat and sheep's milk cheese that is excellent on the grill or warmed on a griddle before serving. It tastes a little wild and is matched nicely by the bold flavors in this sauce.
Spices sometimes get forgotten, so make sure you do replace them at least yearly if you don't go through a jar in that time. They loose their punch and flavor, and we've all had that sad, pale, geriatric jar of something or other that has managed to escape the bin for a few years. So, make sure you've got some fresh, punchy, deep red chili flakes and go to town. A good substitute might be to toss in a little ground chipotle pepper or minced chipotle en adobo for a smokey version of this sauce.
As far as your lineup of veggies, fruits and proteins for the grill, well just about anything goes! If you haven't grilled stone fruit before, it's a good time to start. Plums, peaches, and nectarines are going to knock your socks off. I almost never grill without throwing on one entire onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rings. Try firm fleshed tomatoes as well, sliced in half or lengthwise for plum type tomatoes like Roma. Remove some of the moist seed pockets and they will grill better. Of course, lightly brush everything with olive oil and remember not to move things around. Respect the first contact with the grill so you get respectable char marks!
The Halloumi takes just 2 minutes on each side, depending on where you lay it on the grill. I would pick a medium-hot spot for the cheese. Grill your other items first, then throw the cheese on when the last things are finishing up. This way the Halloumi will be soft and warm for serving. Don't forget to grill some lemon! The cheese especially loves to have extra lemon to match it's saltiness.
The platter above was prepared for two adults, but if your grill is big enough, by all means do extra veggies and fruits!!! There is no downside to having grilled veggies for sandwiches, adding to pasta, or chopping into an omelette later in the week. The grilled fruit makes an instant desert by itself, drizzled with honey and nuts, or with ice cream, but you already thought of that ice cream bit, didn't you?
Halloumi is a very satisfying protein with this meal if you add a nice loaf of bread to the fruits and veggies. Straight off of the heat it is salty and soft with a slightly dense, curd-like texture. Heavenly.
Grilled Halloumi, Fruits and Vegetables with Rosemary-Chili Vinaigrette
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp minced rosemary
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 Tsp chili flakes
- 1/4 Tsp sea salt
- 1/2 Lb Haloumi
- Assorted veggies and fruits to grill
In a small bowl, mix the lemon, rosemary, honey, olive oil, lemon zest, chili flakes, and sea salt to make the vinaigrette. Transfer the vinaigrette to a small cup that will fit on your serving platter. Slice the Halloumi in 1/2 inch thick pieces on the bias, straight up and down or straight through the middle from side to side to create pieces of the desired size. Prepare the veggies and fruits for grilling. For stone fruits, slice them in half and remove the pits. Brush all your grill items lightly with olive oil and begin with the veggies and fruits. When these are done, transfer to a nice serving plate and place the Halloumi slices on the grill in a medium heat zone for about two minutes on each side. You should get nice char marks. Don't worry if you get larger or uneven patches of browning/charring but keep an eye on these guys and don't over do them.
When the cheese is done, move it to the serving platter. You may drizzle the vinaigrette directly over the grilled items or allow each person to dress their own food with the sauce. Slice a loaf of crusty bread and you have a meal! Enjoy!
Yield: 1 Platter for two hungry adults. Sauce will be a scant 1/4 C.