Lime & Caper Dressed Halloumi Cheese

Thursday 1 June 2017

We are having another week of gorgeous weather here in the UK, which is great as the children are all off on half term, well in England and Wales at any rate.  I have been taking advantage of the warmer temps and preparing lots of lovely salad type of meals for us.  This is a salad I had not made in a number of years, and all of a sudden I got a craving for it.  Fried Halloumi Cheese, with a Lime and Caper Dressing.  Fried cheese??? Yes!! Why not!

Halloumi or hellim is a Cypriot semi-hard and unripened brined cheese which is created from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk.  Nowadays, you will often find it containing cow's milk, but authentically it does not.  It has a high melting point, which makes it perfect for frying or grilling because it holds its shape well. We really like it, and it is perfect done this way.

I can take no credit for this recipe.  It has been adapted from one by one of my favourite cookery writers here in the UK, Delia Smith.  You might not be familiar with her in North America, but over here she is at least as popular, if not more than is Mary Berry, who I know you will be familiar with due to the GBBO.  In fact, Delia is so popular here that she has what might be called the "Oprah" effect on products, both in the way of food ingredients, and in cooking utensils!  She was one of the first cooks over here on the Television that I watched.  She is very, very good and so are her recipes.  In fact, they are pretty fail proof. 

What she does is take simple quality ingredients and shows you how to make the best and most of them, with foolproof methods. She has been a great example to me in that way.  If Delia can cook them, then just about anyone can!  I like that.

I think it can be a pretty pricey cheese in North America, however, but as a treat, well worth the price.  Over here it is quite affordable, at least pre-Brexit, we will see about afterwards.  It has a texture which is quite similar to a good Mozzarella or a string cheese.  Its salty and tangy and quite similar in flavour to Feta I would say, but it really comes into its own when you fry it.  

You end up with a cheese which has a crisp and golden crust and a semi firm centre with just a touch of goo.  In short, it is unbelievably gorgeous!  I just love it. This beautiful Lime and Caper Vinagrette Dressing is the perfect way to show it off.

Once again, simple ingredients done well . . . lime (both the zest and the juice), white wine vinegar, capers, good fruity extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh coriander (cilantro),  grainy Dijon,  some seasoning and, ta da!  Bob's your Uncle!!  I like to add a touch of sugar myself, but that is just me.  It takes off some of the edge from the tartness of the lime and the capers.  I have also used Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar in the past with most delicious results.  Make sure you have plenty of crusty bread to serve with it as well, so you can sop up all of that lovely dressing!

What you have here is a very enjoyable salad that works beautifully as a light lunch for two, or as a starter course for more people when you are entertaining.  I really hope you will try it.  It's fabulous! 

*Lime & Caper Dressed Halloumi Cheese*
Serves 2 as a light lunch
or 4 as a starter
This is a lovely and light summer lunch or starter.  The dressing is particularly good and really helps to bring out the best of this tasty cheese.  Fried cheese?  Why, yes! A good crusty bread on the side is very nice for sopping up any extra dressing. 

For the dressing:
the juice and zest of one well washed lime
1 TBS white wine vinegar
1 heaped TBS of non-pareil capers, rinsed and drained
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 heaped tsp of grainy Dijon mustard
1 heaped TBS chopped fresh coriander leaf (cilantro)
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

For the cheese:
1 halloumi cheese
2 TBS well seasoned plain flour
2 TBS olive oil for frying 

Take the cheese out of its packaging.  Pat it dry with some paper kitchen toweling.  Using a sharp knife, cut it into 8 equal slices, including the ends.  Prepare the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together.  Set aside. 

Take the slices of cheese and coat them lightly in the seasoned flour on both sides.  Set on a plate to wait while you heat the oil. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the cheese slices, cut and floured sides down in a single layer.  Cook for about one minute until golden brown then flip over and brown on the other side.  Serve immediately on warm plates with some of the vinagrette drizzled over top.  Pass the remaining vinaigrette at the table.

I have done a bit of research and found that in America at least you could consider some of the Mexican cheeses which don't melt when heated, such as Queso Blanco or Asadero if you find it impossible to get Halloumi Cheese.  Bon Appetit!

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