Halloumi, from Cyprus, has a lot going for it. Traditionally made from goat’s and sheep’s milk, this cheese has a great chewy texture and a mellow yet briny flavor that hints of mint. Though halloumi is perfectly tasty when eaten fresh with bread and fruits and vegetables like watermelon, figs, cucumbers, tomatoes, or olives, the coolest thing about halloumi is that, when heated, it softens but doesn’t melt, so you can grill it, pan-fry it, or pop it under the broiler. Cooked halloumi gets a tasty brown crust and a soft gooey center.
A marinade makes halloumi even better. Soak sliced halloumi in olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, chopped garlic, and fresh oregano for several hours, then eat it right out of the marinade or throw it on the grill–it’s delicious in a BLT or tucked into a pita with a slab of ripe tomato and a drizzle of the marinade. For grilling, slices that are about 1/3 inch thick work best.
If halloumi is too salty for your taste, simmer it in water for about 5 minutes. This also softens the cheese, so if you intend to grill it, chill it until firm first. Look for halloumi in the cheese section of your local market, or you can order it online at iGourmet.com. Halloumi keeps well in the refrigerator and can also be frozen.
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