summertime and the mezze is easy! grilled halloumi with lemon

fried halloumi with lemon juice
If I said to you, yup we're going to be eating something that squeaks like polystyrene and can set your teeth on edge, but is a sensational eating experience, you may well be forgiven for thinking I'd lost my marbles (again). But if you've actually had halloumi, pronounced "hal-ooo-mee", a prince amongst cooking cheeses, I am convinced that you'll be nodding in agreement.

Yesterday I posted my story about my friend Heathcliffe's mezze feast. One of the dishes included halloumi, which is a chewy, salty white cheese make from either cow's, goat's or sheep's milk (or a mixture of all), which probably originated on the island of Cyprus, but can now be found all around the eastern Mediterranean, from Greece and Turkey to the Lebanon.

Why is it such a good cooking cheese? Well unlike most cheeses, its layered texture means that it remains firm, even when cooked at high temperatures. This makes it the perfect cheese for slinging on the barbeque, grilling or just frying in a little olive oil.

While I like mine simply grilled, it is also very good indeed in a salad (especially since it has an affinity for lemon, mint and dill) or baked with pasta. You could dip slices in flour and egg and fry until it develops a glorious crust and a soft tangy salty centre. It is very good with watermelon and with fruit salads too.

And, by the way, Heathcliffe served his halloumi with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I had never had it like this before. A revelation! Divine!

Skill level: Easy

150g halloumi cheese, sliced (about ½ cm thick)
fresh lemon juice
20ml olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice the halloumi into slices (about ½ cm thick). You should hear the cheese "squeak" as you cut into it!
  2. Pre-heat a char-grill pan on a medium to high heat. Add a little of the olive oil, adding more if necessary.
  3. Fry until a light golden-brown on each side, which will take about 30 to 45 seconds on each side.
  4. Serve with a sprinkling of black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

  • Drizzle over a little olive oil that has been marinating with finely chopped red chilli before adding the lemon juice.


Food Glorious Food! said...

Halloumi is always a hit as starter. Love it :)

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Me too, but am starting to love it in salad too . . . a bit of a revelation :)