Grilled Cheese

A while back in our local market, I happened upon an item in the cheese case that I hadn’t noticed before: Halloumi Cheese. What caught my eye was the tag line: The Cheese That Grills.

This delicious firm sheep’s milk cheese hails from the island nation of Cyprus and its makers advertize it as combining the texture of mozzarella with the brine moisture of feta…and it is, indeed, somewhat salty.

Amazingly, you really can grill it; it doesn’t melt on the griddle or grate. What it does is brown, like a pancake, and it’s delicious.

I’ve been tossing a couple of slices of Halloumi on the griddle in the morning to serve, drizzled with just a squirt of sugar-free maple syrup alongside the eggs and bacon we have most days for breakfast. It takes the place of low carb toast, tortillas, or pancakes as a dauber of egg yolks when I cook them sunny side up or poached. And the balance of the salty cheese with the sweet syrup is, to my palate at any rate, just lovely.

The makers recommend grilling, then squeezing on a bit of fresh lemon juice and scattering capers over it as a warm appetizer, which sounds scrumptious, too, but I haven’t yet tried that.

What I have tried is using it fresh in the traditional Cypriot salad: cut the cheese into cubes and combine with wedges of fresh tomato, chunks of cucumber, black olives, onions, and green bell peppers, dressed simply with olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, and dried oregano. You don’t even need any salt, because the cheese is plenty salty enough.

Give it a try if you, like we, are always in the market for something new and savory to try. It shouldn’t be hard to find. If you can’t find it in your market, ask your grocer; chances are he or she can get it for you.

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6 thoughts on “Grilled Cheese

  1. I have used this cheese many times and agree that it is great. I like to cook cubes in a non-stick skillet, then toss them on top of a salad. I bought the cheese at Costco membership warehouse in a twin vacuum pack. Unopened, it keeps for a long time.

    Cheers,
    Anna

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Sounds delicious on a good bunch of fresh greens! And thanks for the Costco tip; I haven’t seen it at ours, but I’ll look for it in the future.

  2. I so love this cheese. I have only tried it one way and I seem to be hung up on it. I think I will try it fresh in the salad next … sounds good.

    My way to prepare Halloumi is to slice it and brown it in olive oil. After putting it on the serving plate, I top it with salsa (spicy) and a bit of shredded, mild cheese like jack cheese. Oh, yum!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: I’ll say! That sounds delicious. Using a bit of green tomatillo salsa and some hot red tomato salsa side by side you could even make it a yummy Christmas season appetizer. And Mike is such a salsa freak that he’ll go wild for it this way. Thanks for the tip.

  3. A great find, it’s wonderful to find new foods that can be prepared so simply. After reading your blog, we were shopping in a regular supermarket (not even an alternative foods store) and were surprised to find this exact product in the cheese case. We grabbed one without even looking at the price and then were surprised again when we got it home to find that we’d paid $8.99 for an 8 oz. package – wow! It cooks and tastes exactly as you described, but we probably won’t be buying it from that store on a regular basis. The site that you linked to sells it in bulk for over 30% less including shipping and mentions that it can be frozen, so we may try that.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Wow! I don’t think I paid nearly that much, but I’m bad not to look at my receipt even after I get home from the store. Now I’m going to check for sure and if it really is over a buck an ounce, I’ll be hitting that site, too. I feel sure it will keep for a good while since it’s vac-sealed.

  4. Dear Dr. Mary,

    I, too, have tried Halloumi cheese and love it. But you must try to “fry” string cheese. You slowly let it melt in a non-stick skillet. When it’s almost melted, sprinkle with granulated garlic. The bottom gets brown and crispy while the top stays soft and gooey. You have something that tastes very similar to cheesy garlic bread (without the carbs, of course). From what I understand, the Frigio brand is the best. It’s cheaper than Halloumi and since each piece of string cheese is individually wrapped, you don’t have to consume the whole package in a short period of time.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Sounds delish! I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

  5. I first learned about Halloumi from the cookbooks by the marvelous Nigella Lawson. She tops grilled slices with freshly made chile oil Delicious.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: As Rachael Ray would put it…Yumm-o! That sounds absolutely delicious; I’ll have to try it soon. Thanks for the tip.

  6. I live in Cyrpus since several years and I got to know Halloumi here. Once tried it straight away turned to be my favorite cheese. I like it fried or grilled and put together with tomatoes, onions and salad into a pita bread and eat it as a sandwich. It is adorable and I can’t get enough of it.