Grilled Halloumi

Grilled Halloumi is a wonderful summer treat! Halloumi is a traditional cheese from Cyprus.  This sheep’s milk brine cheese is sold in little blocks or squares about 8oz. each and is a Mediterranean staple often served with mint. It is semi-firm, easily sliced and its mildly salty mellow-yet-tangy flavor squeaks as your teeth break it down. Halloumi is a real crowd pleaser.

This cheese has a higher melting point than other cheeses and makes it suitable for frying or grilling.  You almost can’t find a BBQ in Cyprus that isn’t serving Halloumi.  It’s very common in the warmer months… to serve Halloumi with watermelon.  The juicy, sugary slices of watermelon are quite refreshing against the mildly salty slices of Halloumi creating a delicious taste of summer reminiscent of the salty ocean air of the Greek Isles. Try something new this month and reach for a package of Halloumi cheese. Simply grill and enjoy.

Wine Pairing: Pair a dry Rosé with the grilled Halloumi. A great choice would be the Agiorgitiko Rosé 2007. It is dry with flavors of gooseberry and cherry that will play off the salty flavors of the cheese.  Another great choice for either of these recipes would New Age White Wine from Mendoza, Argentina. The slight effervescence will concur with the refreshing salads and the balanced acidity is just right to handle the sweet/salt combination.

Grilled Halloumi with Watermelon

This is a simple appetizer or addition to any meal.  One package serves approximately four people.
1.    Brush room-temperature Halloumi lightly with olive oil and place onto the grill until charred, approximately 2 minutes. Turn the slices over and grill the other side until charred.
2.    Slice and serve with sliced watermelon and garnish with fresh mint.

Halloumi Salad with Orange and Mint
This vibrant dish makes a zesty salad course or a light starter.
3 medium oranges, peeled, segments and pith removed
1 small bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2  8oz (250g) packs Halloumi cheese, drained
2 oz. walnut pieces, toasted
1 bag (145g) of mixed field greens or a combination of arugula, watercress and spinach

1.    In a large bowl, combine the orange segments and any juice that may have run off, mint leaves, vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, and then gently toss together.
2.     Slice each block of Halloumi into 8-10 pieces, then grill over hot grill or on the stove top in a grill pan until Halloumi is charred on each side and beginning to melt, approximately 2 minutes on each side.
3.    Add the toasted walnuts and salad leaves to the orange-mint mixture.  Toss together.  Serve onto 4 salad plates. Top with the grilled Halloumi slices and a sprinkling of fresh black pepper. Serves 4

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 Vine & Table #301