News and Opinion from Anne Barone to Keep You Chic & Slim


Halloumi cheese on plate

|| 13 March 2016

Halloumi Cheese Info & Recipes

On Thursday I wrote about my disappointment with a package of imported Halloumi cheese I bought. Two readers, Ann Leslie in New York and Kat in London (Merci, Ann Leslie & Kat) sent information about Halloumi that confirm my suspicion that the package I bought was probably not the best of Halloumi — and that I did not have a good recipe for this firm, white cheese from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. I mentioned a similar Sardinian cheese I used to buy. Ann Leslie’s description of the Halloumi she used to buy in Brooklyn describes well the Sardinian cheese I remember. So it was likely a Sardinian version of Halloumi I used to buy. Kat in London sent a her favorite Halloumi recipe.

Ann Leslie wrote:

From what I remember, we used to buy Haloumi - pretty sure it was spelled that way - in the mid-eastern food stores in Brooklyn. It was wrapped in plastic, not fresh in water like some other cheeses. It had a wonderful texture, elastic but not rubbery, and a very mild taste, more like fresh mozzarella than like a stronger-tasting cheese like feta, but it was NOT creamy. We just ate it as is; we didn't try to cook with it. I've seen it in Greek stores, too, but I don't remember buying it there.

I tried reading about it on line. One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that it's good for frying and melting. David Lebowitz has a nice little piece about it. There are a lot of comments. I did see that David Lebowitz gives instructions about how to make the cheese yourself. Wikipedia discusses the variations from different countries, etc.:

AnneNote: American chef David Lebowitz (Living the Sweet Life in Paris) links to a recipe on the Wholesome Cook website. Unfortunately the recipe requires a litre/quart of unpasteurized cow’s milk and a litre/quart of goat’s milk. I can tell you from personal experience that trying to make cheese from pasteurized, homogenized supermarket milk can give you unsuccessful results. Not a good idea to try to substitute for fresh milk.

Kat in London sent her favorite recipe for Halloumi.

The nicest recipe I know comes from Delia Smith's Summer Collection, and here it is. Serves 2 as a light lunch, or 4 as a starter:

1 halloumi cheese

2 Tbsp well seasoned flour

2 Tbsp olive oil

For the dressing

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 heaped Tbsp grain mustard

1 heaped Tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro to you!) leaves

Juice and zest of 1 lime

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 heaped Tbsp capers, chopped

1 clove garlic finely chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Unwrap cheese and dry with kitchen paper. Slice into 8 slices, including the ends. Prepare dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl. Heat oil in frying pan (skillet to you!) over medium heat. When it is really hot, press each slice of cheese into the seasoned flour to coat both sides, then add them to the pan as they are done - they take 1 minute on each side to cook, so by the time the last one is in it will be time to turn the first one over. They should be a good golden colour on each side. Serve immediately on warm plates, with dressing poured over. Good with lightly toasted pitta bread, but I don't bother. Bon appetit!

AnneNote: I am going to try Kat’s Halloumi recipe with one of the firm, white Mexican cheeses. In my part of the world the Mexican cheeses are much less expensive than the imported Cypriot Halloumi. (And, anyway, I don’t think what I have available is perhaps the most authentic of Halloumi.) My idea would be to serve the fried cheese on a bed of fresh spinach — with or without the suppested pitta. For vegans, I think this would be tasty made with tofu.

Apparently, Halloumi has become very popular in the UK. The BBC has an article How halloumi took over the UK.

be chic, stay slimAnne Barone


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