The Salty And Flavorful Cheese That's Practically Made To Be Fried

Heating cheese usually results in melted, gooey goodness, which is delicious. But halloumi is a salty, flavorful cheese that remains firm and springy for the ultimate fried delicacy. A common staple in the Mediterranean, halloumi is a semi-hard cheese traditionally made with sheep milk that's heavily salted and then brined, resulting in a distinctly salty and tangy flavor. It can also be made with a mixture of sheep and goat milk, or even cow's milk. Heating halloumi tempers its saltiness, lending a creamy, mild, and more versatile palate. Thick rectangles of grilled halloumi are popular fillings for pitas in Greece. While the grill is a popular way to instill a smoky, slightly crunchy charred exterior to halloumi, frying is quicker and just as tasty. Plus, it saves firing up a grill.

Frying halloumi encompasses various techniques, from pan frying in a little olive oil to breading and deep frying. You could even dust it with a bit of starch and stick it in the air fryer. You can also pan-fry halloumi dry, letting its own fat content create crisp, brown edges. However, breading and oil both provide a great opportunity for seasoning halloumi with spices, aromatics, and earthiness. Dredging thin sticks of halloumi through egg wash and seasoned panko bread crumbs before frying them in olive oil over the stove gives a delicious result. You can also pan-fry halloumi steaks in olive oil and shower them with dried spices and seeds while they're still hot to create a textured crust.

Have fun with your fried halloumi dishes  

Fried halloumi can be an appetizer, sandwich filler, or the main course of a plant-based dinner. As a Mediterranean staple, you know it will taste delicious seasoned with a spice mixture containing paprika, cumin, Aleppo pepper, oregano, and sumac. You could combine these spices and add them to panko crumbs for breaded halloumi fries to serve with tzatziki, tahini, and harissa cream dipping sauces.

Pan-fry squares of halloumi in olive oil with a bit of lemon juice, zest, and freshly cracked pepper to serve over Moroccan couscous. You could marinate halloumi steaks in hot honey to complement their saltiness with a spicy sweetness. Pan-fry honey glazed halloumi to serve over crostini for a sophisticated appetizer, or make it a sandwich filling to serve in ciabatta with sun-dried tomatoes, olive tapenade, and pepperoncini.

Halloumi's versatility pairs well with an array of global flavors and dishes. For example, this recipe for halloumi tacos from Tasting Table pairs halloumi with corn and cherry tomatoes to stuff inside fresh flour tortillas. Mexican and Mediterranean spices overlap as seen in the cumin and oregano seasoned marinade. The squeaky texture and mild taste of halloumi resembles Indian paneer. Consequently, you could pan-fry halloumi in ghee and add it to a bed of creamed spinach seasoned with Indian spices for a twist on saag paneer.