Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Halloumi Bites

Thank you to Nigella Lawson for inspiring me to try these wonderful fried cheesy bites! They are my first submission to a fabulous new cooking club, I Heart Cooking Clubs! I am especially excited to participate in this new cooking club because we are currently celebrating Nigella Lawson. I adore her and think she is fun and unadulterated. This is a another great cooking club which allows you to chose your own recipe based on a theme each week. This week's theme is Party Treats! I poured and poured over my copy of Nigella Express. So many recipes to choose from and it really gave me something fun to think about. I decided on these Halloumi Bites. How can you ever go wrong with fried cheese?

Over the weekend I went to the Mousetrap, a fabulous cheese shop in Lexington. It's almost embarrassing to admit the sheer excitement I get when going to the Mousetrap. They have every cheese you can possibly imagine. They also carry all sorts of gourmet foods and cookware. I am truly inspired each time I go there. During this visit, I was able to buy four great imported cheeses: Halloumi, Camembert, Fontina, and Romano. So exciting!

Here is a picture of the Halloumi I bought. Halloumi is a cheese made in Cyprus and is used in Greek/Mediterranean cooking. It's very versatile and can be grilled, grated, fried or served in a salad or sandwich. It is a staple in Mediterranean cooking as it features the texture of mozzarella with the briney moisture of a feta. At my local store it was $8.99 for about half a pound (8.8oz). I urge you to try this cheese if you have not. It is worth the price, packs a punch, and can be used for many recipes.
This is what it looks like when you remove the packaging. I was expecting it to be fragile, like feta, but it was more smooth like a mozzarella. It was easy to slice for the Halloumi bites.

This is one of those recipes that you can throw together in five minutes. It was SO easy and very delicious. I ate some plain and then I put some inside a pita and it was awesome!

Halloumi Bites - Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson
1/4 cup garlic oil *(I used chili oil)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons lime juice
good grind of pepper
3 (8 oz.) blocks halloumi cheese, drained *(I used about 1/3 a package for 2)

Combine oil, parsley, lime juice, and pepper in a large shallow dish. Slice the drained (I didn't have to drain mine) halloumi into 1/4 inch-wide pieces, and then cut each slice in half again. Don't worry if they splinter as you cut. Heat a dry skillet and dry-fry the slices of cheese until golden on both sides. This should take only a minute or so in a hot pan. Put the fried halloumi into the shallow dish of other ingredients as you go, and then turn the halloumi about to coat each piece before turning into a serving dish.

I am excited to say that I have leftover Halloumi cheese and will be trying some more recipes later this week. I like the idea of making a Mediterranean pizza, putting the Halloumi on a skewer, and also grating it into pasta or even an omelet!


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