In the heat of summer, it’s no wonder why watermelon graces almost every table. It is refreshingly sweet and intoxicatingly juicy.  In this dish, the ultra-salty grilled halloumi cheese, made from a combination of goat and sheep’s milk and originating from Cyprus, and floral notes from the pink peppercorns temper the sweetness while still allowing the star ingredient, luscious watermelon, to shine.

Note:  Halloumi cheese retains its shape, and absolutely comes alive, when grilled.

1 medium watermelon, divided

2 cups cooked farro

1 ½ teaspoons whole pink peppercorns, finely ground

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

juice of 1 lime

1 1/2 teaspoons red chile flakes (gochugaru works well)

1 clove garlic

¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, divided

8 ounces Halloumi cheese, sliced in half lengthwise

¼ cup roughly torn fresh basil

¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Slice the watermelon in half.  Reserve about ¼ of the melon for the vinaigrette and slice the remaining into ½-inch cubes until you have about 2 ½ -3 cups.  Set aside. 

For the vinaigrette, add about 1 cup of roughly chopped watermelon, the ground pink peppercorns, champagne vinegar, lime juice, ½ teaspoon of red chile flakes, and garlic to a blender and pulse until smooth.  With the motor running, drizzle in ¼ cup of the grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper until emulsified.  Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.  It’s perfectly normal for this vinaigrette to separate.  Shake well before assembling the salad.

Next, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil over the halloumi cheese.  Preheat your grill to medium high (an indoor grill pan or other heavy skillet may also be used).

Grill each piece for about 1 minute per side or until light grill marks form.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.  Slice into ¼-inch cubes and set aside.

Finally, to assemble the salad, arrange the diced watermelon, farro and cheese on a large serving platter or on individual plates.  Scatter torn basil leaves, coconut flakes, the remaining 1 teaspoon of chile flakes, and extra black pepper over the top, if desired. Serve with the vinaigrette on the side.