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SUMMER GRILLING: Recipe for grilled Greek salad with halloumi

This April 28, 2014, photo shows a grilled Greek salad in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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This April 28, 2014, photo shows a grilled Greek salad in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

If you haven't yet tried halloumi — often also called Greek grilling cheese — let this recipe for a romaine salad be your excuse.

Thanks to a high melting point, halloumi can handle just about any heat you care to throw at it. It resembles a block of feta cheese, but is far more dense and is easily sliced. The taste is briny and savory, and you'll often hear a distinctive squeak as you chew it. Slices of halloumi can be set directly on the grill or in a skillet and seared. The cheese will get warm, slightly tender and incredibly delicious, but it won't melt.

In this recipe, we cut it into sticks, then grill them and use them in place of the more traditional feta in a Greek salad. And since we already have the grill going for the cheese, we decided to grill all of the vegetables, too — including the romaine — then finish everything with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze.

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GRILLED GREEK SALAD

Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus marinating

Servings: 4

1 medium red onion

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

14-ounce can artichoke bottoms, well drained

8 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

2 bell peppers, colour of your choice, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces

10 ounces cocktail tomatoes, on the stem

2 hearts of romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise

1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives

Balsamic glaze, to drizzle

Slice the onion into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Spear the slices across the grain with a small wooden skewer.

In a zip-close plastic bag, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the vinegar, oregano, lemon zest and juice, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and a hefty pinch of black pepper. Place the skewered onions, artichokes, halloumi and peppers in the bag. Allow to marinate, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables and cheese from the marinade. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the romaine lettuce on the baking sheet and pour the marinade over it, being sure to coat all sides and allow the marinade to seep down into the lettuce leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill the onion, artichoke, halloumi and peppers for 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until charred. Grill the romaine lettuce and tomatoes, whole and on the stem, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until charred.

To serve, place a half romaine heart on a plate. Arrange a quarter of the artichokes, halloumi, peppers and tomatoes around the romaine. Sprinkle with the chopped olives, then drizzle with additional olive oil and the balsamic glaze.

Nutrition information per serving: 450 calories; 270 calories from fat (60 per cent of total calories); 30 g fat (14 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 19 g protein; 1450 mg sodium.

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