A world without halloumi is not a world that I am prepared to live in. I fondly remember how our Sunday family breakfasts in the States consisted of a variety of mezze dishes ranging from dips to shakshuka to zaa’tar. I found comfort knowing that halloumi would always be amongst those foods. The luscious cheese has always had the ability to transport me to the Levant, where it has been most commonly enjoyed.
Halloumi, which has been traditionally made of both sheep and goat milk, is the perfect cheese for frying or grilling, particularly because it is firm and maintains its shape after being exposed to heat. The best halloumi is from Cyprus and its texture can be described chewy, semi-hard, and slightly rubbery. Its taste is rich, soft, slightly salty, and meltingly good. My favorite way to eat it is pan-fried with a bit of olive oil. The cheese should be thoroughly cooked and golden brown with a soft and melting center and it is always best enjoyed at the moment, right out of the skillet. Drizzle some more olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lime juice afterwards and serve with dried chili flakes, zaa’tar or sumac, herbs and sliced heirloom tomatoes for a vibrant mezze.
1 block (200 gr.) halloumi
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
a squeeze lemon or lime juice
1. Cut the halloumi into squares sized to your liking. Heat a skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the halloumi and cook for a few minutes on each side until thoroughly golden with a melting center.
2. Drizzle some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice over the top and enjoy right away!