In this dish we bring you a fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Zahtar spice gives the orzo a distinct zingy flavour, synonymous with Middle Eastern dishes, which balances beautifully with creamy halloumi and coriander spiced aubergine.
Vegetable Stock Pot
Flat Leaf Parsley
Preheat your grill to high. Remove the very top and bottom from the aubergine, cut in half lengthways and chop into 2cm chunks. Pop on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil. Season with salt and sprinkle over the ground coriander. Mix well. Grill for 8 – 10 mins or until brown and soft. TIP: Turn halfway to make sure the aubergine cooks evenly and doesn't burn. Boil your kettle.
Halve, peel and slice the shallot into thin half moon shapes. Peel and grate the garlic. Remove the top and bottom from the courgette. Cut in half lengthways and then cut each half into four strips. Chop each strip into 1cm chunks. Dissolve the vegetable stock pot in boiling water (amount specified in the ingredient list).
Heat a splash of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 3 mins. Add the courgette and cook for 2 mins. Season with salt and black pepper and then add the garlic and orzo. Cook for another minute, then add a third of the stock, and bring to the boil.
Once the stock is boiling reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 3 mins. Stir in half the zahtar spice blend and then add the rest of the stock. Cook the orzo for another 8 – 10 mins or until al dente. TIP: ‘Al dente’ simply means the pasta is cooked through but has a tiny bit of firmness left in the middle. Stir frequently to make sure it isn't catching on the bottom of the pan.
Meanwhile, zest and juice the lemon. Finely chop the parsley. Cut the halloumi into 1cm thick slices (three slices per person). When the orzo is halfway through cooking, heat a frying pan over high heat with a splash of oil. Cook the halloumi for 2 – 3 mins on each side or until golden. TIP: Do this in batches so the halloumi browns nicely.
Stir two-thirds of the parsley and lemon zest into the orzo. Taste and add a drizzle of lemon juice, and some salt and black pepper to taste. Spoon into deep bowls and top with the aubergine. Pop the halloumi slices on top and finish with a sprinkle of the remaining zahtar spice blend, lemon zest and parsley.