Recipe: Grilled Asparagus with Halloumi, Mandarin Dressing & Honeyed Almonds
Asparagus and halloumi are a match made in heaven.
Recipe and words: Michael Van de Elzen
To me, spring means asparagus. It’s simply the best vegetable in the world. Even better, this dish includes another of my favourite foods: halloumi.
It’s one of those squeaky cheeses that becomes soft and flavoursome after cooking. When sourcing halloumi, look for a New Zealand-made cheese.
If you’re growing your own asparagus, I recommend using the money saved to splurge a bit on the cheese. I love the stuff from Wellington artisan Zany Zeus – it has a higher price point but it’s one of the more authentic options available.
Time: 35 minutes
30-40 asparagus spears (about 6 per person)
½ cup roasted whole almonds
juice of 3 mandarins
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp honey
microgreens/edible flowers to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Smash the almonds roughly into large chunks. Place these on a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the honey. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the honey begins to caramelise.
Juice the mandarins and pour into a small saucepan. Cook on a medium heat and reduce until you have about 4 tbsp of juice. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of canola oil, and the avocado oil. Season the dressing to taste, then set aside.
Break the bases off the asparagus spears – they should naturally snap where the woody bit ends and the edible bit begins – and discard. Blanch the spears in lightly salted boiling water for a couple of minutes, then refresh in iced water.
Brush the asparagus with a little canola oil, season with salt and pepper, and chargrill on the barbecue or in a grill frying pan.
Slice the halloumi into 5mm-wide strips. Toss in the seasoned flour, then pan-fry in canola oil.
Arrange the asparagus and halloumi on serving plates. Garnish with the almonds, greens, and flowers, and drizzle with a little dressing.