“For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm.” Vladimir Nabokov
That sums what I seek to do. Not just when I read fiction, but oh, everything: writing, photographing, and the rest of it. But right now, my brain feels like a bowl of silly putty and I am still getting back into the groove of things. Best not to force it.
I’ll leave you with just this sandwich today. It’s not the prettiest sandwich, but it’s still pretty delicious. The sharp tart-mineral-spicy harissa cuts through the rich, salty halloumi just so nicely. I ate a lot of cheese sandwiches during my last semester, and this one beats them all. Definitely worth making.
Green Harissa and Halloumi Sandwich
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
½ tablespoon each: fennel and coriander seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (see note)
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ cup coarsely chopped mint
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 jalapenos, coarsely chopped, seeded and de-pithed according to your heat preference
Juice of one lemon (approximately 1 generous tablespoon)
Salt, to taste
To fry halloumi:
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 – 6 ounces halloumi, sliced about ¼ inch thick (can substitute paneer)
To assemble and serve sandwiches:
4 slices of rye bread (or other bread of your choice, or maybe 2 sandwich rolls)
Two handfuls of arugula
Optional: a small bowl of green olives
To make the harissa, toast the cumin, fennel and coriander over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until powdery. Combine all of the ingredients, including the crushed spices, in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth and blended.
For the halloumi, heat pan on medium heat for 1 minute. Add olive oil. Fry the halloumi until the liquid evaporates and it’s golden-brown (about two minutes). Flip over, fry the other side for one minute, or until golden-brown.
Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the harissa on both sides (you will have extra leftover). Spread a single layer of fried halloumi on both sides. Put a handful of arugula on one side, and quickly cover the arugula side with the non-arugula side. Repeat the process for second sandwich. Serve with a bowl of green olives.
Note: green harissa usually has more cilantro, e.g. 1 cup cilantro and 1 cup spinach/parsley/mint. I’m not a fan of cilantro so I used more parsley. Feel free to change the cilantro to parsley ratio if you’re a cilantro fan :)