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Monday, January 16, 2017

why you need halloumi (cheese) in your life

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If you enjoy cheese in any way, shape or form, you need halloumi in your life.

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Salad topped with pan-fried halloumi and pesto dressing.  Tasted even better than it looks.
Halloumi hails from Cyprus and is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese.  It's typically made from a mixture of sheep and goat milk, but most of what I find here in Canada is made from cow's milk.  What sets halloumi apart from other cheese is it's uniquely high melting point.  It can be fried, or grilled without melting, and the cow's milk cheese I buy here is basically like a slightly firmer cheese curd.

It's salty, mild and delicious.

We have a fabulous local restaurant called Amuse (Ottawa peeps - check it out!  Awesome west-end eats), where I recently ate an appetizer that had pan-fried (and then flambéed) halloumi.  It was so good that I was inspired to create a variation at home. With fewer carbs because I think if I entered cheese and garlic bread into MyFitnessPal, it would explode.  :p.

I made a salad topped with pan-fried halloumi, which I then dressed with a pesto dressing (my favourite Costco pesto + white wine vinegar) and it was FABULOUS.

I shared a photo of the salad (above), and I got a lot of questions about it, so I thought I would put up a brief post with a couple of ideas of how you could use halloumi (note that due to halloumi being a protected Cypriot product, you will sometimes find it marketed under similar names like halloom - Ottawa folks - I bought mine at Food Basics.  Most well-stocked grocery stores should have it if you poke around a bit).

Here are a few ways to enjoy your halloumi:

- pan-fried in a bit of oil, then served over salad (note that I particularly loved this with a pesto rich and delicious)

- pan-fried, then flambéed with a bit of ouzo, then served over crusty garlic bread, with chopped heirloom tomatoes (similar to the fabulous Amuse appetizer....or better yet, head straight to Amuse and just have them make it for you!)

- on skewers - I did this over the summer and it was a huge hit with our family - the cheese holds up well to grilling, and a light brush of marinade is all you need.  You can skewer just cubes of cheese, or mix it up with vegetables (that's I how usually make all our skewers - a mix of vegetables and protein)

I have also pinned a couple of ideas that I haven't yet tried, like this Winter Caprese Salad with beets and halloumi and this Warm Lentil dish with fennel and halloumi.

Have you tried halloumi?  What's your favourite way to eat it?

1 comment:

@NutkinNB said...

My fav place in Ottawa for halloumi dishes was Mystiko!

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