Sometimes, a food pairing just naturally occurs to you. You either end up in a completely different direction to where you though you would end up, or you just have this magical moment in the kitchen where you reach for something that completely transforms a dish.
I am a recipe girl, and it does not bother me one bit. I enjoy following a recipe to the letter so that I can taste what the chef intended me to taste. It’s after the first taste that my own brand of cooking prowess kicks in – do I switch up the herb and spice palate? Do I cook a certain ingredient differently to deepen the flavour? Do I take the components and wrap them in pastry?
But for transformations, small or large, to occur, you have to know what you like; and just in case you guys haven’t figured it out yet, I like cheese very much, and it just so happened that haloumi, aka squeaky cheese, was the missing ingredient for these burritos.
I started off by making a vegetarian tostada, following a recipe by Valli Little, whom I absolutely adore. But pickled jalapenos are not really my thing and I completely forgot to buy salsa; so all in all, I was not off to a good start as the dish would never be the way that Valli intended it to be. It was still pretty tasty.
Not even a week later, I assembled most of the ingredients again, with a few new key players, and from a strong foundation base provided by Valli, the squeaky cheese burrito was born.
Roasted Vegetable and Haloumi Burritos
- 2 red onions (cut into 8 wedges)
- 4 tomatoes (cut into 8 wedges)
- 200g butternut pumpkin (cut into small slices)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup coriander leaves (loosely packed)
- 1 to 2 long red chillies (thinly sliced)
- 180g halloumi (thickly sliced into 8 to 10 pieces)
- 2 tablespoons lemon olive oil *
- 4 corn tortillas
- Preheat oven to 180°C and Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the onion, tomato and pumpkin on the tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Roast for 1 hour or until tender and slightly charred.
- In the meantime, dry toast the pine nuts in a frying pan, stirring frequently over medium-high heat until golden. Empty into a bowl to cool slightly, then combine with the coriander and chilli.
- Add the lemon olive oil to the same frying pan over medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the haloumi slices and cook until golden brown. Flip them and continue to cook until the both sides are golden. Drain the cheese on kitchen paper.
- Meanwhile, loosely wrap the tortillas in foil and warm in the oven for 3 minutes.
- Divide the roasted vegetables among the tortillas, top with halloumi slices and scatter with coriander, chilli and pine nut mixture. Wrap into a burrito and enjoy.
* If you don’t have or cannot find lemon oil, you can use extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil. If lemon oil is not used, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the haloumi as it drains.
You could always make lemon oil – add the zest of one large lemon to one cup of olive oil. Heat in a small saucepan over medium heat for ten minutes, but do not allow the oil to reach a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the lemon zest from the oil and store the lemon-infused oil in a clean jar in a cool and dark place.
Recipe adapted from The Daily Special by Valli Little.