INGREDIENTS
by Nigella Lawson

There is something so compelling about this squeaky cheese, and my fridge is stocked with it at all times. Most regularly I treat it as vegetarian bacon, dry-fried in a hot pan then dolloped with a peeled, soft-boiled egg. But the idea for this recipe came to me one evening when I felt the need to counter the siren call of the halloumi’s saltiness with some sweet-and-heat.

Starters & nibbles

Buyer's guide

The best halloumi is made from sheeps’ milk, and will come from Cyprus, although these days you can even find varieties made in Britain.

Storage

Halloumi will keep in the fridge for many months if left in its original packaging, complete with brine or whey. Once opened, submerge in salt water and refrigerate.

Preparation

A firm, slightly springy white cheese from Cyprus, traditionally made with sheeps’ milk, although these days mass-produced varieties often use cows’ milk. In texture, halloumi is similar to a firm mozzarella, making it a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Unlike mozzarella, however, it has a strong salty flavour, particularly when preserved in brine.

Halloumi can be dry-fried in a hot frying pan or griddle pan to render the texture soft and stringy, and to make a caramelised crust on the outside. Eat immediately while still warm as it will soon revert to a slightly rubbery state.

In the Middle East, halloumi is usually fried or grilled to take advantage of its high melting point. Although halloumi can be eaten straight from the packet, some chefs recommend soaking it in buttermilk for a day or two before preparing, to give it a richer, less salty flavour.