I truly have no words for this crispy lamb salad.... other than holy WOW. It is truly a marriage made in heaven. We've got meaty, fatty flavor from meat is seared in a blazing hot cast iron. There are nuggets of cheesy goodness in the form of halloumi. Also present: a shower of herbs, slivers of red onion and chunks of cucumber. Then, the whole thing gets an uplifting flair with the addition of lemon juice and really high quality olive oil. Ah, I'm salivating just thinking about it! Let's get into it, you guys!
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi is a classic Cypriot cheese that is absolutely magical because of it's texture. Halloumi doesn't melt and can easily be fried. In terms of texture, it is bouncy and springy, and not very crumbly. Flavor-wise, it is a more mild and less salty feta, but still has that fantastic brine taste we all know and love. In this salad, I chose to leave the halloumi raw for two reasons. The first is ease of preparation; why complicate things? The second is because of the contrast between briny, fresh halloumi and crunchy, fatty, fried lamb. I love the way these two ingredients come together. If you can't find it, use feta, but it does truly take the crispy lamb salad from good to spectacular, so try to seek it out!
Why Use Lamb?
Lamb is extremely flavorful and very fatty, which makes it perfect for this recipe with minimal ingredients. It also pairs well with the Mediterranean flavor palate that we have going on (as evidenced by the mint and Cypriot halloumi cheese). If you don't like lamb, no worries, you can use ground beef. However, make sure the use really fatty beef (at least 80/20%) so that you can get a REALLY good sear on the bottom. Crunchy meat bits are what make this salad so special.
Why English Cucumbers?
English (also called Japanese) cucumbers are the large ones wrapped in plastic at the store. They don't need to be peeled and have less seeds than regular cucumbers, so that is why they're fantastic! They are super easy to cube up and add great crunch to the "salad."
I'm all out of lemons. What should I do?
If you don't have a lemon on hand, swap it out with another citrus fruit like lime or orange. Alternatively, you could use a few tablespoons of sharp, assertive vinegar like sherry vinegar.
I don't like [insert fresh herb called for in the recipe here]. Can I leave it out?
Yes you can, but my advice is: don't knock it till ya try it! Cilantro, parsley and mint all blend really well together here and basically flavor the entire dish as the dressing is super minimal.Print
Crispy seared lamb, cool halloumi, tons of fresh herbs and a simple dressing of olive and lemon juice. This salad is simply irresistible!
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 6-8 oz halloumi cheese
- 1 lemon
- small handful parsley
- small handful cilantro
- small handful mint
- 1/2 English cucumber (cubed)
- 1/2 small red onion (thinly sliced in half-moons)
- ~1/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin)
- salt + pepper
- Put a cast-iron skillet on the stove and get it blazing hot.
- Season lamb with salt, pepper, and the zest of a lemon. Add to the skillet and smash it around to make a big lamb pancake that covers the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium-high undisturbed for 8-10 minutes. The bottom should be REALLY crispy.
- Meanwhile, chop herbs into oblivion, and add olive oil and the juice of one lemon to them. You’ should add olive oil until the herbs are spoonable and can be poured over the salad like a “dressing.” Roughly 1/4 cup. Add salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon or salt if needed. It should be bright and acidic.
- Once the bottom of the lamb is crisp, flip and finish cooking for 1 more minute on the other side. Then remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind most of the grease.
- Place lamb on a large plate. Top with crumbled halloumi, cucumbers, red onion, and then drizzle herb dressing on top. You can also add more sliced lemons and some extra mint on top. Maldon salt + chili flakes don’t hurt either!
- You can serve this immediately, but it will also taste great if left to marinate for a few hours before serving. If you want to turn this into a more complete meal, serve alongside couscous!
- Category: Salads
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keywords: lamb, lamb salad, halloumi, halloumi salad, crispy lamb, lamb herbs, middle eastern salads