Two of the most delicious things on planet earth would have to be fried haloumi cheese, and a fresh buttery avocado. smashed roughly with the back of a spoon. So combine there two key ingredients with a few fresh herbs and spices and a good dollop of chilli jam, and you really can’t go very far wrong, as Matt Wilkinson illustrates with today’s ripper sandwich recipe! I give you, ‘The Vego’. – Lucy
‘The Vego’ sandwich from Pope Jone / Hams & Bacon. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
So yep I like putting ‘the’ in front of every sandwich because it makes them feel like a rock band or characters out of the movie Reservoir Dogs. You may think I’m strange, but when compared to other foods, sandwiches are generally given the cold shoulder, so this is my way of giving them the right that they deserve.
The Vego is the simplest of all the mighty sandwiches and always changes with the season. This rendition uses avocados, which means it’s ‘technically’ out of season and awaiting Summer’s return, but with this combination of ingredients who’d want to wait. I mean how can anybody not the like the combination of haloumi cheese (I must admit when I first heard of haloumi I thought it was something a magician said before he pulled a rabbit out of a hat) with its soft and salty texture once warmed, a little, coriander, dukka for a little texture and spice/nutty flavour, a touch of chilli jam for heat, and then marrying the lot with the best avocados around – Barham Avocados?
Just on the Mexican side of the Murray above Koondrook in northern Victoria lies this township that has some of the best growers in our fine country. I have now been using Barhams avos for three years and it is a delight to have them in my kitchen. They have four main varieties that start around August right through to now where the season has just ended, but what a way to finish with the magnificent variety: the Reed. There full of great flavour and have this tactile texture to them that resembles an emu egg.
‘The Vego’ ingredients. Photo - Sean Fennessy.
2 Barham Avocados (reed variety)
12 slices of haloumi
½ bunch coriander (roots removed, then wash three times and pat dry)
4 tsp Egyptian dukka
4 tbsp Cunliffe & Waters tomato chilli jam
8 slices Phillipa’s bakery wholewheat and honey bread
Method (serves four)
Chilli Jam! Photo - Sean Fennessy.
In a bowl smash your pulp of the avo with a fork, think of an ex boyfriend or girlfriend while you are doing this, it helps me immensely. Add salt and pepper, then some lemon juice to taste.
Lay out your bread, on four of the sides spread out the avocado, then sprinkle the dukka on the avocado and add some coriander. On the other slice of bread spread some chilli jam.
Now heat a large frying pan on high heat, when the pan is hot add a drizzle of oil then sear the haloumi on one side. Once it starta to go golden brown flip it over and continue cooking on a medium heat for 2-3minutes. Take off share around the slices of haloumi onto the coriander side of the bread. Put the lid on, put some Otis Taylor on the vinyl, and enjoy.
I am pretty sure there is nothing more dleicious in the universe than fried haloumi. Photo - Sean Fennessy.
MASSIVE thanks to Matt Wilkinson for joining us this month and sharing his impressive sandwich repertoire! If you’d rather leave your sandwich preparation in the hands of the experts, you could always pop in to Pope Joan and/or Hams and Bacon Produce Store at 75-79 Nicholson st in Brunswick East, where you will find this and many more amazing sandwiches on the menu!