I posted on Facebook last night that I had a passion for fried halloumi cheese. A couple of friends mentioned that they had never heard of it so I thought I'd give a little background.
We first had fried halloumi cheese (though I didn't know what it was at the time) at Disney World Epcot Center Food and Wine Festival. We fell in love! This and a glass of Greek wine and I was ready to pack my bags and head to Cyprus (where it was originally from).
Halloumi cheese is a slightly salty Greek cheese. It is made with a mixture of goat and sheep milk. It is firm enough to brush with a little olive oil and grill. It has a sort of chewy texture with a big mouth feel. I think it is kind of hearty and rustic. Sort of like me.
1. it is vegetarian
2. I can find it at my local market
3. it isn't so expensive that I'll overdraw our checking account buying a small hunk and usually that is all we need.
If your market doesn't have it there are places online to order it which I suggest you do. Just Google it. (I know! I can't believe I just typed that. I hope the librarian police don't come after me.)
Traditionally, it is grilled and served with watermelon and mint. What a great summer salad that would make! I've never done it this way but I think that is in our immediate future. I may even get crazy grill the watermelon.
The way I've had it and made it is a couple of different ways.
1. Fried with honey and pistachios. This is what we had at Epcot Center. You fry the cheese with a little olive oil or butter then top with a little honey and chopped pistachios. AWESOME! The salty cheese with the honey is fabulous. Add the crunch of the pistachios...yeah, I want this right now!
2. Stacked (and this is how we had it last night). I grilled eggplant (you could use a grilled portabella mushroom also) that I marinaded in a vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Italian seasoning (or really whatever I've got around). Grilled the cheese and made an aoli from the leftover marinade and mayonnaise. Here is how I stacked it up; place the grilled eggplant slice on a bed of fresh spinach the, next stack the grilled cheese, on top of that add a thick tomato slice and finish with a tablespoon of the aoli. This was terrific and very filling. It would make a great vegetarian burger if you put it between a bun. I tend to stay away from bread so we had ours bun-less.
There are plenty of other recipes out there in on the interwebs just G-word it. You can also use this cheese in place of feta or even mozzarella.
Now, if you need all the nutritional deets about this cheese Livestrong's got them. I'm far less concerned about that. My theory is; it is not off limits if it tastes great and we eat it in moderation.
If you get the chance try this cheese.
PS: thanks to whoever posted the above image on Google images.