Halloumi is the best cheese for grilling. But if you eat it as is, plainly grilled, it can be too salty or chewy. Learn how to serve halloumi in combos that bring out the best of it.
I admit that the first time I ate grilled halloumi cheese I winced. I usually eat my food salty, but this was too much! I found later that, if you know how to serve halloumi in the right combos, this cheese can be not only good but amazing!
Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese. It’s made with goat and sheep milk, and sometimes also cow milk. Halloumi is a special cheese because it has a high melting point which makes it perfect for frying or grilling.
Halloumi is popular mostly in Cyprus, Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. But this perfect-for-grilling cheese is not as popular in the United States.
If you want to find out how to serve halloumi, you should know that this cheese is white, similar to mozzarella, but it has a more distinctive and layered texture. We’ve mentioned it before, but please don’t forget: halloumi is a very salty cheese, so you should combine it with sweet, fresh, and mild foods, which will soothe its strong taste.
How to serve halloumi to make it better
1. With watermelon
Because Halloumi cheese – grilled or not – is salty and has a dense texture, combining it with watermelon is like you just pulled an ace from your sleeve. The sweet, light and juicy watermelon pieces balance the cheese and together they make a great combo. Mix them in a refreshing summer salad, and you won’t regret it! You can also add arugula, baby spinach, cucumber, olives, fresh mint, and lime juice. You can also replace watermelon with strawberries or peaches. The only question is: are you having a dessert or a main dish?
2. On a pancake or flatbread
Another way to combine halloumi with fruit in an irresistible way is to make pancakes. Not dessert pancakes, but something that can act as your lunch! Braise some spring onions and chives and add them to a classic pancake batter, then set them aside. Cook halloumi slices in a non-stick frying pan until the cheese starts to turn brown, let it cool and slice it into sticks. Lay the halloumi sticks and some crushed pineapple in your pancake skillet, pour the pancake batter over the filling ingredients and cook some sweet-and-savory pancakes! You can also try making crepes or flatbread pizza with this cheese.
Do you want to serve halloumi with something other than with fruit, but still make it a sweet dish? How about a warm homemade flatbread? Top it with grilled halloumi, then drizzle honey, and sprinkle some fresh mint or oregano leaves.
Battered halloumi is an alternative to chicken fingers and fish fingers. Make a light seasoned batter and coat strips of halloumi with it, then pan-fry each piece. Because this cheese keeps its shape on high heat, you can also make halloumi fries, which means that you only coat the halloumi pieces with flour and spices and then deep fry them!
Dip battered fried halloumi slices in a contrasting sauce: salsa, tartar, sweet chili sauce, or yogurt sauce. Serve with pickles and roasted potatoes, or flatbread. The combo of battered halloumi with homemade chili jam is delicious!
4. Halloumi parcels
Halloumi parcels consist of marinated halloumi wrapped in individual phyllo dough sheets (also known as filo), that are then baked. The secret lies in the marinade! Mix olive oil, tahini, chili, parsley, and lemon zest, and marinate the halloumi slices in this mixture for about 10 minutes. Once marinated, place two slices of halloumi on top of each other in the middle of half a piece of phyllo. Wrap it and fix its edges with beaten egg, then brush the parcel with egg wash before baking it. Serve as a vegetarian main course, with a salad.
5. Halloumi cigars
Halloumi cigars are thin and long phyllo rolls stuffed with halloumi and other fillings. You should use 2 sheets of phyllo at a time because if you use just one it can break when you roll it. After you cut the halloumi fingers, you can opt for the classic combo: preserved lemons and fresh mint, or add extra olives and fresh herbs.
Cook the rolls on a hotplate for 4-5 minutes, turning them often until the pastry is golden and charred. These nice snacks should be served hot with herbed yogurt as a dipping sauce or a salad.