Crispy Halloumi with Pickled Carrot Salad

This is a really simple dish, but it’s full of big beautiful flavours. The soft texture and salty flavour of the halloumi balances the sour crunch of the carrots perfectly, and the fresh grassy taste of the parsley and zing of the lemon finishes it off. And in case you’re worrying, the pickled carrots are super easy to do – no sterilising jars or any of that malarkey, just make up the mixture in a jar and pop in the fridge ready for when you need them. They'll keep for a couple of weeks, in the fridge, as long as the carrots are fully submerged in the brine. 


About 200g halloumi
Olive oil
A handful of fresh parsley
A lemon, for zesting
For the pickled carrots (makes enough to fill a 2lb jam jar):
5 plump carrots
120ml white wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ginger
120ml water, plus more to top up

Makes enough halloumi to serve two, with some pickled carrots left over for snacking (believe me, they’re incredibly moreish!)

First of all, a note on the pickling – I made enough juice to half-fill the jar, and then topped it up with water. For me, this was the perfect level of sourness, because it didn’t overpower the halloumi, but if you’re a real pickle fiend, you could double up the quantities for the juice and then not top it up with water. The carrots will need to sit in the jar for about an hour to take on a mild pickled taste, but I let them sit overnight before I made this salad.

To make the pickles, start by preparing the carrots – if you’ve got a julienne peeler, then go ahead and use that, but I don’t so I just cut mine into matchsticks. It was a little bit time-consuming but it’s worth making sure the pieces are really nice and thin, so that they really soak up the pickle flavour.

Next, make the pickling liquid – in a small saucepan, combine the white wine vinegar, sugar, sea salt, fennel seeds and ginger, and heat gently. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved, and bring to a simmer before removing from the heat. Add the water and stir through, and then put to one side and allow to cool to lukewarm.

Once the liquid has cooled, pack the carrots into the jar and pour the liquid over the top. Depending on which quantities you’ve used, you may need to top it up with water – make sure that all the carrots are covered. Place in the fridge for at least an hour.

To finish off the dish, slice the halloumi thinly and place in a griddle pan over a high heat. Keep a close eye on it and flip the slices over once the undersides have browned. The second side will cook much faster so make sure you take the slices out before they burn!

To serve, place a big handful of pickled carrots on a plate and top with the halloumi. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley and plenty of lemon zest – the citrus zing really makes this dish. Serve as a quick and delicious lunch, or a deceptively fancy-looking starter.