Happy Fourth of July! Hopefully you’re reading this not too far from a grille or barbecue, because they’re necessary for today’s recipe! Your mouth is probably already watering for hot dogs and burgers, but to give your holiday menu some kick, why not include this week’s ingredient—a personal favorite of mine: halloumi cheese!
This Week’s Ingredient: Halloumi Cheese
I discovered this cheese while traveling abroad and it remains my absolute favorite to this day. I would tell you that it can’t be topped—but actually, that’s the point! Because of its unusually high melting point, halloumi cheese can be grilled or fried and retain its form, so it can be layered, stacked, or tossed with other ingredients. There is nothing quite like relishing a steamy, smoky bite of halloumi, fresh off the grill. The cheese is native to Cyprus, has a semi-salty flavor and deliciously flaky texture, and is typically made from sheep and/or goat’s milk. One slice carries about 125 calories and an impressive 8.5 grams of protein! Toss a couple slices on the grill and serve with the following companions as an appetizer, or in the recipe below. (Note: it can also be served—and tastes equally as yummy—cold.)
Best kabob companions:
Pineapple (grilled or fresh)
This Week’s Recipe: Grilled Halloumi Cheese Sandwiches
This is guaranteed to please all of your summer BBQ buds, but especially the vegetarians! (No longer will they have to settle for the pasta salad at summer parties!) I adapted the following recipe from Epicurious to include pineapple (my favorite halloumi compliment).
1/2 pound pineapple
1/2 pound Haloumi cheese
1 large garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (3/4-inch-thick) slices peasant or country-style bread
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Sprigs of mint (optional)
1. Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over moderately high heat.
2. Slice the pineapple into thin rings, set aside.
3. Halve cheese diagonally, then cut each triangle, cut side down, into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
4. Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using side of a large heavy knife. Whisk in salt and sugar until dissolved, then add 1/4 cup oil, whisking until combined.
5. Toss cheese with 1/2 tablespoon of the dressing.
6. Brush both sides of bread with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
7. Grill bread, cheese, and pineapple slices on grill rack, covered, turning over once (use a metal spatula to scrape under cheese to loosen before turning), until bread is toasted (2 to 3 minutes total), grill marks appear on cheese (3 to 4 minutes total), and pineapple begins to wilt (3 to 5 minutes total).
8. Whisk dill into remaining dressing. Divide bread among 4 small plates and top with cheese and pineapple. Garnish with mint or sprouts. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.