I think of halloumi as ‘the squeaky cheese’; only you’ll hear it but it definitely squeaks a bit while you’re chewing.
If you’re unfamiliar with halloumi, it originates from Cyprus where it was traditionally made from unpasteurized sheep and goat milk. Nowadays it’s likely to be made with moo-milk as well, so check the packaging if that’s important to you.
Cypriots like to eat sliced halloumi with watermelon, in case you fancy acting a bit Mediterranean and want some juice with your squeak.
You’ll find halloumi in most supermarkets…it comes vacuum-packed in a little brine with small flakes of mint still attached and it freezes well, so buy more than one.
You can pan-fry or grill it without it bubbling or melting, so don’t bother trying to make cheese on toast, a grilled cheese sandwich, or pizza with it; you’ll think you’re eating an eraser (rubber).
Halloumi is absolutely brilliant pan-fried or grilled on a skewer… it has a satisfying consistency and texture, with just enough richness that’s nicely complemented by a citrus-y dressing.
This particular recipe is an old Delia Smith favorite and only takes 10 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for a light lunch or appetizer.
HOT HALLOUMI with CILANTRO (CORIANDER LEAF), LIME & CAPERS
(Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer)
One 8 oz (227g) pack of halloumi cheese
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, seasoned with black pepper and a little sea salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
For the dressing:
The zest and juice of one lime
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 heaped tablespoon of capers, rinsed and drained
I fat clove of garlic, minced
1 heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
1 heaped tablespoon of chopped cilantro (coriander) plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pat the cheese dry and slice into eight, lengthways. Dip each side in the seasoned flour; heat the oil in a wide pan and fry them for approx 2 minutes per side, or until they’re a nice golden color.
Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients – be careful not to overdo the sea salt as capers can be a bit salty.
Serve the hot halloumi right away with the dressing poured over, some extra cilantro leaves for decoration and with hot, crusty bread to mop up the juices.
(A Delia Smith recipe)
Is this the cheese that they eat in Greek restaurants and they light it on fire?
It’s certainly Greek and his such a high melting point that it keeps its shape and texture with cooking – but I must admit, I’ve never seen it actually set on fire. Must have been quite a spectacle!