The Beer Lover's Table: Halloumi, Pitta and Grapefruit Salad with Fried Chickpeas and Newbarns x Holy Goat Berliner Weisse

Brighter days are really and truly on their way. I know this not because the weather is either predictable or reliable, but because my cravings are.

Gone is the soup fixation I nursed for recent months, the need for all things hearty and warm. Instead, my desires have galloped ahead to high summer. I long for juicy, dripping tomatoes, for sweet corn newly shucked off the cob, for ruby watermelons and golden peaches. I want crunch, zing, snap and zest.

I may still need to wait a month or two before all that summer produce becomes available, but in the meantime, I’m finding satisfaction in this fresh, zippy and meal-worthy salad. Something of a mashup between Emma Laperruque’s recent Bon Appetit recipe for halloumi with avocado and citrus and Sohla El-Waylly’s recipe for Food52 of a halloumi and chickpea salad, this dish features home-roasted pitta chips and golden hunks of halloumi, lightened up with wedges of grapefruit and blood oranges. Jalapeños add moderated fire, rocket gentle bitterness, dill and tarragon anisey freshness, and avocado a buttery counterpoint. 

My favourite salads are always multi-textural, so I also opted to garnish this with shatteringly crisp and well-spiced fried chickpeas. Eagle-eyed readers may notice the same chickpeas show up in this month’s Natural Wine Killers recipe for green chutney ceviche - what can I say; they’re versatile!

To go with a summer-aspiring dish like this, I needed a beer that had a similar sensibility, and I’m delighted to have stumbled upon Newbarns x Holy Goat’s Berliner Weisse. The former brewery’s first foray into mixed fermentation, this collaboration release is made with pale malt and raw Scottish wheat, and is co-fermented with Holy Goat’s house lager yeast and Newbarns’ mixed culture. It’s fresh, subtle and lightly tart, an excellent foil to the salty halloumi and a complement to the citrus and lemony dressing.

Summer may still be yet to arrive and I don’t know if I can believe the cold and rain has been fully vanquished – I’ve suffered too many fool’s springs for that. But I can at least feel transported to sunnier climes with this pairing.

Halloumi, Pitta and Grapefruit Salad with Fried Chickpeas
Adapted from Sohla El-Waylly and Emma Laperruque
Serves 4 as a main course

For the salad:
400g halloumi, patted dry and torn into 1-inch pieces
4 wholemeal pitta, torn into 1-inch pieces
75ml extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons za’atar
Large pinch flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
2 pink grapefruits
4 blood oranges (or use regular oranges)
2 jalapeños
150g rocket
40g fresh dill
20g fresh tarragon, stems discarded
2 avocados

For the fried chickpeas:
1 400g tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed and thoroughly dried
200ml frying oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the dressing:
60ml lemon juice (from approx. 3 lemons)
60ml extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sumac
1 teaspoon Aleppo chilli/pul biber
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Transfer the halloumi and pitta pieces to a large bowl. Pour over the olive oil and add the za’atar and salt. Using your hands, toss until the halloumi and pitta are evenly coated in oil.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large, foil-lined baking tray, and arrange in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, pausing halfway through to rotate the tray and flip the halloumi and pitta, or until the pitta pieces are crisp and the halloumi is golden-brown. Set aside and leave to cool.

3. While the halloumi and pitta are roasting, prepare the fried chickpeas. Before beginning, ensure the chickpeas are completely, thoroughly dried (if not, they will explode dramatically when added to the frying oil). Add the oil to a large frying pan and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add one chickpea to test; it should sizzle vigorously. Add the remaining chickpeas and turn the heat down to medium-low (you may need to cook them in two batches, depending on the size of your pan). Fry for 15–20 minutes, or until the chickpeas are dark golden and crunchy. Repeat if needed.

 4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried chickpeas to a bowl lined with paper towels. Sprinkle over the cumin, cayenne and sea salt, and mix to combine. Set aside to cool.

5. Prepare the dressing. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until fully emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.

6. Next, prepare the other salad components. Using a paring knife, remove the peels and bitter pith from the grapefruits and blood oranges. Separate into segments, and/or cut into wedges, discarding any seeds or tough membranes that you find. Then, stem and deseed your jalapeños and finely slice.

7. To assemble your salad, pour the dressing into a very large mixing bowl. Add the roasted halloumi and pitta, the citrus, jalapeños, rocket, dill and tarragon, and season with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt. Mix with your hands, ensuring everything is well combined and coated in dressing.

8. Divide the salad between large plates or bowls. Halve and dice the avocados, and scatter across. Sprinkle over the fried chickpeas. Serve immediately.

Claire M Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beer hound and all-around lover of tasty things. You can follow her at @clairembullen. For more recipes like this, sign up to our HB&B All Killer No Filler beer subscription - you'll receive Claire's recipe and food pairings, plus expert tasting notes, with 10 world-class beers like this one every month.