Oh halloumi, how I love thee.
It is an odd cheese, to be sure. If you’ve never eaten it before, whatever you do, don’t eat it cold. When cold, it has the consistency (not to mention the slight taste) of rubber. This might also explain that when you buy it, it has a use-by date about a year into the future. It’s made from a combination of sheep and goat milk.
Once you heat it up, you can leave any worries about the cheese behind. Upon heating, either over a grill (preferable) or fried, the once rubbery cheese becomes something else altogether. Unlike almost all other cheeses, it has a very high melting point, which means you can grill or fry without worrying that you’re going to inadvertently make some fondue.
Amid the recent economic troubles of Cyprus, I didn’t worry about how the troubles might hurt the rest of the European economy, but how it might affect my supply of halloumi cheese. Priorities.
So it was with great glee that I found the recipe for spicy halloumi with tomato and coriander salad in the Madhouse Cookbook. Sign me up.
The recipe is from the “Cling On to Your Social Life” chapter and is intended to be a starter for four adults. I halved the recipe and turned it into a lunch for one adult (me).
For this dish, Jo Pratt tells you to marinade the halloumi cheese in olive oil, lemon juice, garam masala and chilli powder. In all my delicious previous encounters with the cheese, I never marinated it, but I was willing to give it a try. The end result was interesting, but I think wholly unnecessary. Halloumi is just as good on its own, though I did appreciate that it was a somewhat different approach than what I normally do with halloumi, which is just throw it on the closest heat source while my mouth waters.
The tomato salad that went with it was simple, but very good. It was a combination of cherry tomatoes, coriander leaves and red onion dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
Will I have this again for lunch? You bet, especially as I am currently attempting to eat vegetarian for all lunches. Will I go to the trouble of marinating the halloumi? Probably not, but it was a good idea.
Finally, on behalf of all halloumi lovers worldwide, can I just say to the economy of Cyprus: Get better soon.