This Cypriot-origin cheese is loved for its robust texture and deeply savoury flavour – plus its capacity to be grilled, barbecued or fried without losing its shape. We show you nine original serving suggestions for mighty halloumi.
We’ve fallen in love with halloumi and its meaty and enjoyably rubbery texture, versatility and umami flavour. As Cyprus edges towards giving its national cheese protected status, there’s no better time to pick up a pack and try a new way with this great cheese.
Halloumi isn’t the only semi-hard, grillable cheese out there – squeaky Finnish Leipäjuusto and firm but lightweight Brazilian quejio coalho are both similar, but harder to source. In ode to the World Cup, we’ve created our own take on quejio coalho by serving authentically long pieces of halloumi on skewers. Flavour with oregano and griddle – or better still, put them on the barbecue.
Whoever discovered the divine matrimony of salty halloumi and sweet, crisp watermelon deserves a medal. This cooling salad sings with summery flavour and many textures. Experiment with different types of melon, and don’t forget the pitta bread.
We’re accustomed to putting melty cheeses into, and on top of, omelettes, but slices of halloumi add a satisfying firmness to this grilled omelette. The sweet pumpkin, spicy chilli and fresh mint make this a picnic-worthy rainbow beauty.
Before you run for the hills, we’re not talking a thick batter barrier here, rather a light coating of seasoned flour to give the outside of the cheese a crispy, protective layer. Pan-fry slices and serve in pittas with a contrasting sauce – we like salsa verde, minus the punchy anchovies if preferred.
Greece, Cyprus and Middle Eastern countries know how to celebrate the virtues of flexible filo pastry. Ready-made packs are easy to handle and provide several meals-worth of pastry. These chunky halloumi blocks flavoured with tahini are perfect as a vegetarian main course – just make sure you check the packaging to ensure your cheese doesn’t contain animal rennet.
Stack in style and combine fried slices of halloumi with harissa, red peppers, aubergine and houmous. If you don’t fancy quite such a beastly bap, treat fried halloumi as you would a meat patty and top with salad and sauce of your choice, grilled mushrooms, avocado or salsa. Maybe hold the processed cheese slice though…
Deep-fried, breadcrumbed cheese may have a reputation as a throwback pub classic, but using halloumi instead of the traditional Camembert gives the finished nuggets an extremely pleasant, firm texture. Use panko if you can find it, combine with cayenne or paprika, and dip the slices of halloumi in egg to help the crumb stick. Deep or shallow fry, then serve with lemon wedges and tomato sauce.
Salt on salt? We can get behind these sodium-rich rolls as an occasional treat. Add chopped chives to cut through the savoury richness, and serve as a gluten-free party nibble or cooled down and packed into a picnic or lunchbox.
We often eat halloumi in large, steak-like slices or threaded in big chunks onto skewers, but try dicing it into small cubes and using to stuff peppers, courgettes or aubergines. Bulk it out with couscous flavoured with parsley.
By Natalie Hardwick – Deputy editor – bbcgoodfood.com