Rose's Shop Watch: Traditional Halloumi Cheese made in Cyrpus
Tesco Finest Halloumi Cheese
Not your average Halloumi
This Halloumi is traditionally made in Cyprus of ewes’ and goats’ milk with a slash of fresh mint leaves down the centre, which have been folded into the cheese by hand. It is a class apart from ordinary halloumi and quite rightly comes in a smart black box.
Halloumi originated in Cyprus around 1000 AD and then became popular in many parts of the Middle East. It has a layered texture and a salty flavour as it is stored in its natural juices with salt water. This gives it an incredibly long shelf life, which makes it an invaluable ingredient to have in your fridge.
It has a very high melting point so it can be fried, grilled or even barbecued without losing shape or melting. It is a little uninteresting and slightly rubbery when raw, but it is totally transformed when cooked with a lovely slightly salty flavour, and a golden speckled surface. Although some people refer to halloumi as “squeaky cheese”, the quality of this one means that it has less squeak and more of a soft and almost crumbly texture when warm.
I think of it as a summer ingredient as it works so well with salads. At its simplest it is shallow fried in a little olive oil and served with chopped tomatoes, red onion and mint, or, as in Cyprus, with some water melon. It can be coated in flour before frying which gives it a slightly crispy coating or even in crunchy breadcrumbs. I love eating it for the quickest of lunches with the tomato salsa, some taramasalata and warm pitta bread. I also often serve it as part of a buffet lunch in summer with ratatouille with which I think it has a particular affinity. But for the best recipe I have ever come across try this one by Delia where the cheese is accompanied by a lime and caper dressing.
More taste, less squeak
Tesco Finest Halloumi
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