Halloumi cheese is something I had never tried until a year ago or so. This white cheese originates in Cyprus, is made from a mixture of goat's and cow's milk, and is seasoned with chopped mint during preparation (you can see a picture here). It has a very unique, slightly squidgy texture, and is one of few cheeses that keeps its shape during heating process, making it ideal for grilling and frying.
Firstly - and mistakenly - I tried it as a sliced cheese on my bread, but found it too squeeky and rubbery, with no proper taste. I then tried it as saganaki, and liked it a bit more. My current favourite way with halloumi is to simply dry-fry it on a frying pan. Heating halloumi slices turns them deliciously soft inside with just a bit of squidge going on. They are wonderful on slices of baguette, for instance. If I want something spicier, I make this simple cheese dish - again by Nigella, this time from the December 2003 issue of Waitrose Food Illustrated. Very slightly modified, as I didn't have any fresh chilli in the house.
Pan-fried Halloumi with Chilli
Serves 4 as a nibble, or 2 as a light meal
250 grams halloumi cheese, sliced not too thinly
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
half a lemon
Mix chilli flakes with oil.
Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat (no oil!). Fry halloumi slices for 2 minutes on each side, until the cheese has golden brown speckles all over them.
To serve, put cheese onto small plates, drizzle with chilli oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve with some salad and bread.