The Recipe Book: Taste of Childhood

A memory of childhood: the family gathered for a weekend breakfast around a table full of fresh ingredients. A smell of toasted bread filling the air and the sound of sizzling halloumi on the grill.  Chef Yazan recalls this memory along the aroma of his mother’s homemade zaatar, crisp freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil, fresh garden tomatoes and his grandmother’s irresistible olives. In this recipe,  chef Yazan takes us back to the time when he was a little kid in a mouthwatering journey to experience his flavorful childhood.

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Ingredients

HALLOUMI ROLL:

  • 1 block of halloumi cheese
  • 1/2 cup of zaatar mix for coating
  • 3 sheets filo pastry
  • 1/2 cup clarified butter

Preparation:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C degree
  • Cut the block of halloumi in half and trim  the sides if needed
  • Brush with butter
  • Coat the halloumi with zaatar mix
  • On a clean surface, lay one layer of filo pastry and brush with butter
  • Repeat for three layers
  • Add the coated halloumi in middle of the pastry and wrap it while keep brushing with butter all around to stick
  • Bake  for 10 minuets or until golden and crispy

ZAATAR PESTO:

  • 1 cup of fresh zaatar (picked)
  • 1 cup of rocket leaves
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts (Roasted)
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

  • Blend add the fresh zaatar, rocket leaves and pine nuts in a food processor
  • Add garlic and parmesan. Blend.
  • Warm the olive oil in a small pot and add to the mix. Blend until smooth paste.
  • Add seasoning to taste

TOMATO GARDEN:

  • 1/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 medium red tomato
  • 1/3 cup red cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 3 onion pearls for garnish
  • Fresh mint and zaatar leaves for garnish

Preparation:

  • Cut the tomatoes in different shapes
  • Cut pearl onions in half and grill until black (charred flavor). Cool down and separate the pearl onion into individual petals

POMEGRANATE DRESSING:

  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. sumac
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed black pepper

In a bowl, dress the tomatoes and fresh pomegranate seeds. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Preparation:

  • In a small bowl mix the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses
  • Add sumac. Mix
  • Slowly add the olive oil and mix
  • Season to taste

BLACK OLIVE SOIL:

  • 1 cup of pitted black olives

Preparation:

  • Finely chop black olives and spread into a flat tray
  • Dry in the sun or use an 80C degree oven. Dry for at least 4 hours

DISH ASSEMBLY:

  • Place carefully the crispy baked halloumi roll in the middle of the plate
  • Arrange the tomatoes around the halloumi roll
  • Place the onion petals and fill with zaatar pesto
  • Spread the olive soil on the plate for a garden look
  • Garnish with the fresh mint and zaatar leaves

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