Roasted Halloumi Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

My sister is a fabulous cook, with totally different tastes than mine.  Well, not totally different… Her kitchen is the only kitchen in the world (that I know of) that I can walk into, and all the comforts that I need to comfort me- real butter, real olive oil, all my favorite brands of tea to comfort my tummy, yogurts, cheeses, breads….the lists goes on down to condiments – are already there in the kitchen, waiting for me.

Grilled Halloumi Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

Grilled Halloumi Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

Over the last few years, I’ve begged her to send me some of her recipes – at least photos Here is her synopsis of no ordinary pasta salad she made for a gathering of artists..

 Pasta salad:

You will need vast quantities of a decent olive oil, a lot of rosemary (going by her picture) and oregano.  She used the rosemary in the tapenade as well as in the roasting of the garlic and some of the vegetables.  She also later told me that her main seasoning agent was not salt and pepper, but Adobo, that ubiquitous Hispanic multipurpose seasoning that I also tend to use too much of (and not mention it!)  She also added several tablespoons of capers, but, I’m not sure if she added it to the tapenade or to the salad itself.  I think it would be best to chop them coarsely and toss them in with the grand mixing of it all.

You would think that this would be obvious, but this is best served at room tempererature, therefore, it is ideal for an outdoor gathering.

NOTE: Her quantities are intended for about 60 to 75 people; please scale accordingly.

Buen provecho! To the adventurous cooks out there!

For the tapenade:

  • I used two cups of kalamata olives (reserve the brine in a separate boil) with a small jar of pesto
  • several sprigs of rosemary about 1cup and oregano
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • and more olive oil in food processor .
  • ..it made about four cups of sauce

For the cucumbers: 

  • 4 English cucumbers in reserved olive juice brine and more lemon juice
  • With half sweet onion

Tomatoes:

  • One box of baby Roma’s tomato’s (grape tomatoes),  sliced

For the roasted veggies:

  • I added raw veggies last, I left them in fridge.
  • 4 whole heads of roasted garlics (peeled and separated ( olive oil, salt, pepper water and chicken bouillon )
  • 3 boxes baby Bellas mushrooms (size? I don’t think I would do mushrooms again, their flavor was lost )sautéed with olive oil salt pepper lemon 3 roasted bell peppers olive oil salt pepper lemon squirt
  • 4 halloumi blocks diced; I usually sauté them. But they put out so much juice, I ended up draining them (after trying to sauté) then putting them on cookie sheet with foil and parchment in the oven until they looked toasted with broiler (might be a tricky step for some) they were more toasted on bottom than on top ( but that’s good with halloumi;Crispy) I’m not sure if I would do it the same way next time. Maybe a cookie sheet each and check to see how much water they’re putting out. Most people recommended more olive oil … A good outdoors salad.

For the Pasta and to combine:

  • 4 lbs pasta fusilli cooked 12 min; (they were thick) in salted water, I let them rest/dry on cookie sheets on parchment turning a little between batches. I may buy a bigger stock pot after this (I only used one paper) most recipes I read recommended this letting them rest a bit, i did about 15-20 minutes time for each pot to boil and cook. I did toss all the pasta with the sauce and a bit of extra olive oil evenly coated, before I added the veggies.

 

 

Roasting the vast quantities of garlic... really, she says it's only four heads of garlic....My oh my!

Roasting the vast quantities of garlic… really, she says it’s only four heads of garlic….My oh my!

 

Lining up the rosemary, oregano, bellpeppers, and mushrooms.

Lining up the rosemary, oregano, bell peppers, and mushrooms.

 

The cucumbers and red onion in kalamata brine juice.

The cucumbers and red onion in kalamata brine juice.

Sauteeing the mushrooms in a skillet...

Sauteeing the mushrooms in a skillet…

 

The oven-roasted bell peppers and the sauteed mushrooms.

The oven-roasted bell peppers and the sauteed mushrooms.

 

Halloumi - this one is seasoned with mint.

Halloumi – this one is seasoned with mint.

 

Diced halloumi.

Diced halloumi.

 

 

Trying to sear the halloumi in a skillet....didn't work to well.

Trying to sear the halloumi in a skillet….didn’t work to well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, opting for the oven again... some crunchy halloumi.

Finally, opting for the oven again… some crunchy halloumi.

Making the tapenade...kalamata olives, olive oil, and rosemary are the main ingredients.

Making the tapenade…kalamata olives, olive oil, and rosemary are the main ingredients.

 

Bringing it all together- it looks so good! I wished we lived closer together!

Bringing it all together- it looks so good! I wished we lived closer together!

 

 

To illustrate how in tune we are food-wise, here is a true story.  After having several minor surgeries, I was finally scheduled to have a surgery that required a longer recovery time.  At the time, my husband job required him to travel across the country every single week.  But, having learned from my previous minor surgeries that he was not the best of nurses, I encouraged him to continue working, and asked my sweet sister to come stay with me for the surgery and the first few days after.  Of course, my husband stayed for the surgery, sillies.  Then, he left. Some people simply do not make good nurses, but they more than make up for it in other ways.  But some people, make excellent nurses.  Like my sister.  These days, many surgeries that once kept you in the hospital for several days to a week are treated as virtual out-patient surgery.  I was fortunate in that I had the most advanced surgery available, the Da Vinci method, which means they could boot me out the same day as the surgery. Unfortunately for them, my oxygen levels were too low, so they kept me overnight.  The next morning, I woke up with a splitting headache.  I looked at my sister, and told her.  She said, Do you need pain medicine?  I said No, I think I really need coffee!  This feels like a caffeine headache.  So, she went downstairs, and came back with REAL coffee from the specialty shop, and in her hand was a little white bag, and on her face was a big smile.  I said, Ooo, you got me a Baci?  She said Yes! I said, Really?  I didn’t know they had those here.  I haven’t seen them since I’ve been living in this town (for the last 3 years.).  Then, she wanted to know how I knew it was a Baci chocolate she had bought….I did not know… It was something I had blurted out from the depths of a drug-fogged mind that was in desperate need of caffeine.  Go figure.

To see some other amazing things she has created, you can visit her artwork here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AmandaHoltRobicheaux?ref=si_shop

 

Twilight on levee road 16 x 40          Sunset on sugarcane field         Cypress trees and lotus leaves         6 x 9 watercolor and gouache on heavy watercolor paper           Roseate Spoonbill setting down in marsh grass         Roseate Spoonbill against dark sky 20 x 24

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