Halloumi (pronounced ha-loo-me) is a Greek cheese that has been around for centuries, as it was prized by Cypriot farmers needing a ready source of protein. Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese most often made of a mix of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk, though cow’s milk is occasionally used. The salty, layered cheese is similar to fresh mozzarella.
But the remarkable, and really delicious thing about halloumi is that thanks to its high melting point it can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried without losing its shape. It becomes gooey-warm and delicious inside, but crispy on the outside. Halloumi’s grill-ability comes from the way it’s made. Fresh curd is heated before being shaped and is then put in brine. Rennet is used to curdle the milk, but no acid-producing bacteria are used to prepare the cheese.
While halloumi is a fun and different protein alternative for vegetarians, it has enough heft to appeal to meat-eaters as well. Next time you throw kebabs on the grill, consider adding cubes of halloumi among the peppers and mushrooms. Roast or bake it among winter brassicas like cauliflower and broccoli or in the summer try a salad of watermelon and halloumi, a traditional favorite in the Middle East to combat warm temperatures.