Originating in Cyprus, halloumi is a cheese that’s traditionally made from sheep’s milk, although cow and goat milk is sometimes used in its manufacture for supermarkets. It’s unusual in that, due to its high melting point, it doesn’t melt when heated like you would expect a cheese to do. This means that it can be grilled and fried, adding intense flavour to a dish. As far as nutrition is concerned, 100g of halloumi provides 320 calories, while there are also reduced fat and ‘lighter’ options available for the diet-conscious.
Available from supermarkets who offer world cheeses and also independent suppliers of fresh and quality produce, such as Calnan Brothers online butchers, halloumi cheese is fairly easy to attain and makes a normally delicious dish, simply mouth-watering. Check that the cheese you purchase is made from sheep’s milk, and has Cyprus as the country of origin, for an authentic halloumi experience.
Whether you choose to grill it and serve it on its own as a delectable appetiser, or you opt to add it to a fresh salad on a summer’s afternoon, the versatility of this cheese knows no bounds.
• Make vegetable and halloumi stacks by slicing each vegetable and layering them to make towers with the cheese. Aubergine, courgette and peppers would work wonderfully for this.
• Halloumi works well with beetroot too. Make a vinaigrette from red wine vinegar, dowse the beetroot and top with grilled halloumi. Finish the dish with a sprinkling of capers for a fragrant tang.
• Stuff red bell peppers with halloumi and couscous for a beautiful and vibrant starter.
• Add the halloumi in chunks to wooden kebab skewers, along with mushrooms, peppers and courgettes. Grill the skewers on a griddle pan to soften the vegetables and brown the halloumi.
• Char-grill the halloumi and combine with some Mediterranean vegetables, such as aubergine, peppers and mushrooms – a perfect light dinner for a summer evening.
• Halloumi also works extremely well with pasta, such as tagliatelle. Combine it with parma ham, cherry tomatoes and shelled peas for an Italian treat.
The key with halloumi is to slice the cheese rather than crumble it, so that it maintains its structure. It works wonderfully in thick or thin slices to finish off a dish perfectly, while the beautiful flavours make an excellent standout salad.