Halloumi cheese is a unique amongst cheeses, in that it doesn’t really melt, except at higher temperatures than other cheese. The higher melting point comes about because during its production, the curds are heated before being placed in brine. This property means that it is excellent for grilling or frying. Another distinction between halloumi and other cheeses is that no acid producing bacteria are used in its production.
Halloumi is originally from Cyrus, but it is also found in Greece, the rest of the Balkans and the middle east. It is usually made from a mixture of sheep and goats milk, but it sometimes mass produced varieties use cow’s milk instead. The taste is similar to mozzarella or panela, but saltier and it has a sort of layered structure.
I usually keep a pack of Halloumi in the refrigerator, for a quick starter or salad. It lends itself very well to pan frying or grilling (broiling) as it takes quite a bit of heat to even begin to melt it. I find that coating the halloumi slices in some seasoned flour before cooking helps keep the cheese moist during cooking and it also creates a lovely crust.
Halloumi and zucchini salad with a mint dressing
- 8oz (225g) of halloumi
- 3 tbsp of plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 tsp of paprika
- 1 large zucchini (courgette)
- Mint Dressing
- 8 to 10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped or crushed
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drain and then slice the halloumi into about 6 slices. Mix the flour with the paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge the slices through the seasoned flour. Slice the zucchini into squares about the same size as the halloumi slices. Fry the halloumi and zucchini in some olive oil until they are golden brown on each side. Arrange the zucchini and halloumi alternately on a plate. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, garlic and some salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the halloumi and zucchini and serve while it is still warm.
This dish is great as a starter for 2 or as part of a meze with lots of other dishes.