Halloumi Is the Perfect Summertime Cheese
Say "hello" to your new favorite way to "grill cheese."
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Cheese isn't an ingredient reserved for comfort food or melting in the oven. Halloumi is the perfect summer cheese. Whether you buy a block made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk or a combination of the two, it's a must-have for grilling season. Unlike other cheeses that melt fairly quickly, halloumi has a really high melting point, which allows you to get it beautifully charred on the outside and lusciously melted on the inside. If you like what you’ve read so far, but aren’t sure where to begin, check out the Food Network Kitchen app. Here are two must-see classes that are sure to turn you into a total halloumi-lover this August.
Elena Besser’s Charred Halloumi with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs (pictured above)
Halloumi takes center stage in this class from chef Elena Besser. Elena begins the class by tackling her veggies first, noting that when adding halloumi to a hot grill, “the cheese moment happens really quickly,” so it’s best to tackle every other component in this recipe beforehand.
After cutting her halloumi block into eight miniature slabs, Elena coats each one with a generous splash of olive oil and gently adds them to her grill. If you don’t have an outdoor grill don’t worry — you can easily do this on a cast iron skillet or indoor grill pan as well. After leaving her grill closed for a few minutes, Elena checks on her cheese slabs and uses a pair of tongs to flip them over. “Look at those grill marks,” Elena exclaims about her halloumi’s beautifully darkened and criss-crossed outer layer. “What we’re looking for here is we want to make sure that the cheese has softened a little bit,” Elena advises further before picking her cheese squares off the grill and transferring them to a serving platter that’s already been filled with her chopped tomatoes.
Elena then tops both her grilled halloumi and her tomato halves with some herbs, and douses the platter with a bright vinaigrette.
“This is herbaceous, this is juicy, this is sweet, salty, squeaky. I love this dish!” Elena shares after taking a bite of her multilayered creation. Whether you make the dish exactly as is, or you substitute your own favorite ingredients inside, be sure to remember Elena’s key takeaway: “We don’t always need to have eight million ingredients when we’re cooking...Keeping it simple and letting those high-quality ingredients really shine can end up creating something really amazing.”
If you’re already a big fan of making chicken kebabs on the grill, you want to try these zesty Mediterranean-inspired pitas from chef Megan Mitchell. Like Elena, Megan decides to grill her halloumi later on in the class because it’ll only take a “a minute or two” to do.
After adding her chicken skewers to the grill, Megan gets to work on her shaved cucumber salad next. To begin, Megan uses a vegetable peeler to cut her cucumber into beautifully long ribbons. She then adds some chopped dill, tangy lemon juice, salt and pepper to it, tossing everything together to create a super simple, yet vibrant filling for her pitas.
Next comes the halloumi. Like Elena, Megan also cuts her block of halloumi into eight individual slabs before adding them onto the grill, right next to her chicken skewers. “Since it's kind of a spongey, chewy cheese it's not going to melt on you like if you put a block of American there — that’s falling through, guys. That’s falling right on ya,” Megan jokes about halloumi’s extra firm texture. If your halloumi does happen to start falling apart when you try to flip it over, Megan states that the best thing to do is keep going. “If that happens, just go with it...it’s still going to taste really good,” she shares.
After seeing that both her kebabs and her halloumi pieces are both golden-brown to her liking, Megan uses a pair of tongs to transfer them onto a platter. She then quickly heats up her fluffy pitas on the grill, filling each one with a luscious serving of her cucumber salad, a briny piece of halloumi, and a chicken skewer, drizzling all her pitas with some tahini to infuse them with a lovely nuttiness. “It’s light, it’s refreshing, it’s spicy...it’s really good guys,” Megan shares.