James Street South Cookery School: Two easy and delicious salads for summer

Niall McKenna's warm beetroot and halloumi salad
Niall McKenna

THIS week’s recipes are two cracking salads which are easy to put together and make a light lunch or dinner for the grown-ups. With the sun making some very out of character appearances, there is nothing nicer than having more salad on the table, whether with a barbecue or on their own merit.

The citrus salad is a great accompaniment to any white fish while the beetroot salad is amazing with crusty white bread.


Although we don¹t live in a climate for salads every day, it’s a great experience for kids to grow a planter of salad leaves in the garden. This year we've planted rocket, a super introduction to growing your own vegetables and widely available at garden centres and markets.


Enjoy the salads in the sun, folks.




(Serves 4 as a main course)


4 beetroots

1 red onion, peeled and sliced into wedges

4 portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 block halloumi cheese, sliced thinly

150g rocket, washed

75g pine nuts, toasted

small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

3 sprigs each of tarragon, mint, dill, chervil, chives, all chopped with any woody stalks removed

2 knobs butter

1 pinch sea salt

freshly ground black pepper



1 tblsp olive oil

1 tblsp sherry vinegar

½ lemon juiced


Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Chop and place the red onion and beetroot in a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil, ensuring that all are covered, and season with salt. Roast for about 40 minutes until the beetroot is tender. Once cooled completely, remove the skin from the beetroot and slice into quarters.


In a frying pan on a medium heat, add butter and cook off the mushrooms and garlic until tender and a little browned, then set aside. Wipe the pan with a clean cloth; add the Halloumi and cook on both sides until golden and soft. Remove from the pan and set aside.


Make the dressing by combining the olive oil, sherry vinegar and lemon juice – mix well. It is best to serve this salad with the dressing a little warm so in the same frying pan you cooked the cheese in, add the dressing and warm through.


Clean and dry off the frying pan one last time, place on a gentle heat and toast off the pine nuts.


Place the beetroot into a salad bowl, along with the red onion, mushrooms, garlic, Halloumi and rocket and dress with the oils and scatter with the pine nuts and herbs. Serve immediately.



(Serves 4)


16 figs, halved

100g caster sugar

4 oranges, cut into segments, keeping the juice

2 tblsp lemon juice

1 tblsp Pernod

1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted on dry pan to release the flavours

1clove garlic, crushed

80ml olive oil

200g feta cheese, crumbled

1 tblsp oregano

60g rocket, washed

1 pinch sea salt

freshly ground black pepper


Start by halving the figs. In a frying pan, place half of the sugar on a medium heat and leave to caramelise for a minute or two. Once it becomes golden, add the figs, cut side down. Once soft, repeat with all of the figs. If the caramel starts to clag add a dash of water to the pan.


Add the remaining sugar to the pan once the figs are cooked and you’ve set them to the side; repeat the process with the orange segments and cook on both sides. Remove and add to the figs.


Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice and any juice from the oranges, the Pernod, the salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until all the ingredients are combined and set aside.


To plate up, place the figs and oranges on a plate, add the feta cheese and the rocket. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle with oregano.

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