Halloumi cheese is by no means new ... just new to this Diva. Hailing from the isle of Cyprus, halloumi is a sheep's milk cheese that has a texture similar to mozzarella and a very high melting point. Consequently it can be grilled, or even fried, directly in the pan. Hold the bread, sear the cheese, and somebody bring me a fork!
While somewhat dubious about this little cheese adventure, I threw caution to the wind, bought some halloumi and whipped up this endearing little salad. I used the last of my POM Wonderful to make a spiced pomegranate molasses ... which turned out to be more akin to a syrup than actual molasses. The texture was a bit thin, owing to either my impatience - I simmered it for 50 minutes - or to the fact that I used agave nectar in place of granulated sugar. That said, the flavor was deep, rich and altogether magnificent - the perfect foil for the salty grilled cheese.
Composed Salad with Grilled Halloumi Cheese and Spiced Pomegranate Syrup:
For the Syrup:
- 3 cups of 100% pure pomegranate juice, such as POM Wonderful
- 1/4 cup of agave nectar (or 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 whole star anise seed
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- pinch of cayenne pepper
For the Salad:
- 2 one ounce slices of halloumi cheese
- some mixed greens and whatever chopped veggies you desire
- wedge of fresh lemon
- dried or fresh oregano
- some spiced pomegranate syrup
Heat a large, heavy bottomed grill pan over high heat and brush it with just a bit of olive oil. Add the sliced halloumi and grill one one side until golden brown, turn and grill the other side accordingly. When grilled to your liking, remove from pan and place atop your salad. Drizzle the cheese with a bit of fresh lemon juice, dust with a bit of oregano and drizzle the entire salad with the spiced pomegranate syrup to taste. Serve and enjoy!
As written, this recipe will serve one very happy individual, though there will be plenty of spiced pomegranate syrup left-over for other uses. This salad makes a wonderful, relatively light lunch. Naturally, there's some fat in the cheese, about 8 grams per serving, but I don't have a problem with that. Its low in carbs, has a nice amount of protein, and using halloumi makes for a refreshing change from my typical turkey or chicken topped salad. I loved it, and I hope you will too.
So, are you familiar with halloumi cheese? What have you cooked up with this intriguing ingredient? Curious Diva wants to know.