Make the most of Cyprus flavours with these simple recipes says RODDY DAMALIS
Hiromeri & Halloumi Salad
With Avocado, Wild Stemmed Caper, Black Cumin Seed & Glystarka with a Pink Grapefruit Dressing
PREP: 30 minutes, SERVES: 4-6
I love using local produce and supporting our local small industries. In using our traditional products we contribute to keeping many home industries and small businesses alive and thriving. We also ensure that our beloved traditional products are not lost.
So, here is a salad made with all things Cypriot! Hiromeri, which is the hind leg of pork submerged in red wine for days which gives it it’s deep red colour, is then slow smoked. When shaved really thinly, you get a similar product to prosciutto or jamon. Great to have with chilled zivania on its own!
I have used it in this salad along with halloumi (which needs absolutely no explanation at all!)
Wild, stemmed capers also make an appearance. The caper stems get picked from fields when the plant is young, and its thorns and berries are still small. These get pickled and either eaten with the above mentioned zivania, used in a salad, or as a topping for grilled, or baked fish. For the fish I finely chop the caper stems and add them to butter, which melts beautifully over the fish.
Lastly, as one would use croutons, I have used a glystarka, which is a woven rusk flavoured with mastic, cinnamon & aniseed coated with sesame seed and black cumin seed. This is crunchy and absorbs the tart pink grapefruit dressing.
500g salad leaf mix
250g hiromeri (very thinly sliced)
200g halloumi (coarsely grated)
2 large avocado (sliced)
1 large yellow bell pepper (sliced)
1 large red bell pepper (sliced)
6 medium raw button mushrooms (sliced horizontally)
100g wild stemmed caper
1 tsp “mavrokokkos” (black cumin seed)
½ cup olive oil
½ pink grapefruit juiced
1 tbsp honey
salt & fine black pepper
For salad: place mixed leaves, peppers & mushrooms on a flat platter, so as to showcase all the interesting, colourful ingredients & for a more even distribution of the dressing.
Add hiromeri, avocado & wild stemmed caper.
Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with black cumin seed and place glystarka rusk on top
For dressing: blend all ingredients together in a blender.
Pears in Saffron & Turmeric Syrup, Drizzled with Fresh Cream
PREP: 30 minutes, COOK: 30 minutes, SERVES: 8
Light, delicate, aromatic, fresh… and very easy to make. The pears can be made days before, they draw in more of the flavours and the colour. Not much more to say here… short and sweet!
8 large firm pears (peeled and cored)
2 cups sugar
8 saffron strands
1 tsp turmeric
4 cups water
2 cups sweet white Muscat
500ml pouring cream for serving
Powder the saffron in a pestle & mortar, then pour 1 cup of boiling water over, allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Place the sugar, turmeric, saffron & the Muscat into a pot & bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until the syrup has bound & taken on the colour & aroma of the saffron.
Add the pears & cook at medium heat for about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat & allow to cool.
Refrigerate overnight to allow to draw in the flavours.
Serve the pears in individual bowls with a liqueur glass of pouring cream.
Roddy Damalis is the author of two books, MY CY is a photographic journey through Cyprus, with stories, commentary, culinary tips, and anecdotes that let you in on the mind behind the recipes, and MY LITTLE PLATES a guide to 100 adored recipes inspired by our beautiful island served over two decades at the beloved Ta Piatakia restaurant in Limassol. Roddy is a restaurateur, celebrity chef, food guru and consultant. He stole both local and international hearts with his infamous and highly acclaimed restaurant Ta Piatakia in downtown Limassol and now operates My View, an exclusive private dining venue in his home. For more information and to purchase the books visit www.roddydamalis.com