In many ways I think of haloumi as the cheese of summer; it is certainly something that I eat a lot of at this time of the year. European brands tend to be made of goat’s or sheep’s milk, but mostly cow’s milk dominates the local market. Because it holds its shape during heating it’s brilliant grilled on a hot plate or pan fried to serve with salads, grated into fritters, or wrapped with vine leaves, prosciutto and the like.
Haloumi can sometimes melt into a soft puddle so if I am using a brand I’m unfamiliar with I often fry a piece first to make sure that it won’t collapse. If it does melt more than expected then I dust it with flour (wheat, rice, chickpea etc) and then fry. Lightly oil the pan and fry over medium heat and don’t turn until you see the edges begin to turn golden. My favourite local brand is Zany Zeus.
Panko & dukka-crumbed haloumi with slow-cooked green beans.
Combine panko crumbs with dukkah. Flour, egg and then crumb haloumi slices. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the crumb to set before frying. For the beans, fry onion until soft, add some garlic if you like and herbs like summer savory, marjoram or basil. Add chopped fresh or tinned tomatoes, some green beans, chopped preserved lemon and cook gently until the sauce is thick and beans are soft, around 20-30 minutes. You may need to add a splash of water.
Grilled lamb & haloumi with minted yoghurt
Marinate lamb leg steaks or back straps with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and chilli flakes. Make a dressing of yoghurt with garlic and plenty of chopped mint. Make a salad of garden greens and herbs, adding tomatoes, cooked beetroot, cucumber, capsicums, etc. Grill the lamb, rest and slice. While the lamb rests, grill the haloumi and toss with the sliced lamb. Add any cooking juices into the salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil. Serve with the yoghurt and flatbreads.
WATERMELON PANZANELLA WITH MINT & LIME WITH HALOUMI
Generously drizzle olive oil over torn ciabatta and toast in the oven until golden. While still warm, combine with cubes of watermelon, cucumber and lime juice and allow the bread to soften slightly. Add shredded mint leaves and serve alongside fried haloumi.