Halloumi is a firm, slightly springy white cheese from Cyprus, traditionally made with sheeps’ milk, although these days mass-produced varieties often use cows’ milk.
In texture, halloumi is similar to a firm mozzarella, making it a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Unlike mozzarella, however, it has a strong salty flavour, particularly when preserved in brine.
The best halloumi is made from sheeps’ milk, and will come from Cyprus, although these days you can even find varieties made in Britain.
Halloumi will keep in the fridge for many months if left in its original packaging, complete with brine or whey. Once opened, submerge in salt water and refrigerate.
In the Middle East, halloumi is usually fried or grilled to take advantage of its high melting point. Although halloumi can be eaten straight from the packet, some chefs recommend soaking it in buttermilk for a day or two before preparing, to give it a richer, less salty flavour.
Recipe idea using HalloumiRoasted vegetable stack with griddled halloumi cheese
For the dressing
1 x 200ml/7fl oz pot crème fraiche
½ handful fresh mint, finely chopped
½ ruby grapefruit, juice and flesh
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the vegetable stack
1 each red, green, and yellow sweet peppers, quartered, seeds removed
1 medium aubergine, sliced
1 medium courgette, slicedolive oil
1 x 250g/9oz block halloumi cheese
To servecourgette flowers (if available)
4 mint sprigs
Method:1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.2. For the dressing, mix the crème fraîche, mint, grapefruit juice and grapefruit flesh in a bowl until well combined. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside until needed.3. For the vegetable stack, place the peppers, aubergine and courgette onto a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and slightly crisp on the outside. You can also grill the vegetables on a preheated barbecue, but watch them carefully so they do not burn. Set the vegetables aside.4. Cut the halloumi lengthways into eight slices. Brush a griddle pan with oil and place it over a medium heat. Add the halloumi to the griddle pan and cook for 20-30 seconds on each side, or until golden-brown griddle marks appear on both sides.5. To serve, place a slice of griddled halloumi onto each of four plates and stack alternate slices of the vegetables on top. Top with another slice of the halloumi. Serve the dressing alongside the vegetable stack. Garnish with a courgette flower (if using) and one of the mint sprigs.
Tip:Griddle the halloumi at the last possible minute before serving, as it quickly turns rubbery once cooled.
A variety of recipe ideas are found within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.
All the best Jan