The pride and joy of every Cypriot household and restaurant around the island, locals and foreigners alike just can’t get enough of our beloved national cheese. Semi-hard with a very high melting point, it’s one of the most versatile cheeses around, which means it can be easily fried or grilled while maintaining its shape without turning ‘runny’. Suffice to say, it’s absolutely scrumptious!
All of us here in Cyprus know that it’s absolutely divine served with watermelon, goes down a treat in a toasted sandwich, and is delicious served grilled with pitta bread at a barbecue. But what else can you do with this mighty cheese? Read on as My Cyprus Insider gives you some great ideas!
1. Keep things healthy with a simple salad
How often do you reach for the feta cheese when you make a salad? Go for something different next time round, with slices of grilled halloumi over your greens. For a really dreamy combo, make sure you add some cherry tomatoes and basil into the mix! Need other ideas? Mix some rocket leaves with figs, and drizzle with a honey mustard sauce for a rather dreamy mix. Halloumi salad with pomegranate and chunks of juicy orange is also divine.
2. Fry it to perfection
Having a fry up on a Saturday or Sunday morning? Add some halloumi into the sizzling pan when you’re cooking your bacon and eggs and your taste buds will thank you for it. Just wait for the halloumi slices to turn golden and ever so slightly crispy and voila – an indulgence that’s worth the calories!
3. Load into your burger bun
Who says burgers are all about cheddar cheese fillings? As a great number of restaurants now begin to dish up goat’s cheese and blue cheese as burger toppings, a few places have now gone for all things traditional, opting for halloumi burgers on their menu. Making your burger at home? Simply place the halloumi on the grill and load into the burger with the filling of your choice, be it mushrooms, onions or bacon. Add some rocket in the mix and you’ll be in for a real treat.
4. Bake it in the oven
Given the fact that this cheese is so very versatile, there’s nothing stopping you from making a great bake with halloumi as the star of the show, even, adding it to potato, meat or pasta dishes. But if you fancy keeping things simple, place a few slices of halloumi in a baking tray, combine with red pepper, tomatoes and a bit of paprika and you’ve got a drool worthy dish that will be ready in minutes.
5. Have a nibble on a skewer
If you’re having a barbeque and are looking for an alternative to the typical grilled halloumi that everyone serves up with pitta bread, then just make some colourful halloumi skewers to impress the guests. Just chop up the veggies of your choice – think mushrooms, onions, courgettes, a variety of peppers, tomatoes – and sprinkle with plenty of oregano before grilling. Voila: veggie and cheese kebabs at the ready!
6. Grate it over hearty soup
Whether you’re going for a chunky tomato or creamy broccoli soup, you can’t beat a little cheese grated over the top. And while most people reach for the parmesan, halloumi is actually an equally delicious option. If you don’t fancy it grated over the top, you can also dice it and throw it into the soup in chunks – especially delicious with trahanas (traditional crushed wheat soup).
7. Use it as a stuffing in a meaty dish
Halloumi is rather delicious with meat, and can be used to jazz up a good old roast, especially chicken. But you can also add a creative flair to your regular meatballs and burgers, adding small cubes of halloumi into the mincemeat mix, or making the meatballs, and then stuffing one cube of halloumi into the centre of each ball. Rather moresish!
8. Get creative with canapes
Got a dinner party coming up and want to make some simple canapes? Nothing beats a cherry tomato, basil and halloumi canape. But if you want to get a little more creative, try some halloumi and fig wrapped in bacon, or cut up small squares of naan bread, cover with lashings of pesto and load halloumi cubes over the top.
9. Mix it up in an omelette
Add some halloumi into an omelette for a tasty treat; just grate and add into the egg mix with the other ingredients of your choice. Not sure about great combos with halloumi? You can either go for it plain and simple, add in a bit of bacon or ham, get more creative with spinach and spring onion, or even add in a bit of chilli and heaps of veggies for a spicier concoction!