Halloumi cheese is a magical addition to any barbeque. Traditionally it was made in Cyprus in the Mediterranean with a mixture of sheep and goats milk, but it is now made all over the world.
The magic of halloumi is that it doesn’t melt when grilled or friend – it develops a tougher shell which becomes wonderfully salty and moreish. When hot, the inside is perfectly soft – when it has cooled the middle becomes tough again and it’s lovely to chew on. The idea of “cheese” may be frightening to those reading this looking for healthy options, but not only is halloumi full of potassium, zinc and calcium – but it is reasonably low in fat – and grilling it reduces that fat content further.
Despite this being a post about marinated halloumi, I have to start by saying, if you are limited for time, then just slice up the halloumi and slap it straight on the grill – it tastes wonderful as it is. One idea is to just serve grilled or fried halloumi with chopped up fresh watermelon, which is a popular snack in Cyprus. However, to make that extra effort when you have guests over, try some of these marinades below.
I have also personally found that in some areas of the world halloumi has less flavour than in the European regions. If you have a European deli or something similar, then I’d recommend getting your halloumi from there, you’ll really recognise the difference. I am currently in New Zealand, and the halloumi is still great, but it can really benefit from a little extra – like these marinades.
Below I have outlined three easy marinades. Each of which are also suitable for meat should you want to keep the vegetarian food similar to the meat options.
Chilli and garlic – This marinade will also work great with prawns
3 tablespoon of olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 + 1/2 teaspoons of chilli flakes (or 1 +1/2 teaspoons of red chillies, finely chopped)
Lemon and Rosemary – You can use this to marinade chicken, but be sure not to marinade it for over ½ an hour or the meat may become tough.
8 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
Mint – this is a good one for lamb
6 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 oz. of shredded fresh mint leaves
Instructions (applies to all marinades)
Blitz Marinade ingredients all together in a food processor or with a pestle & mortar.
Slice the halloumi to around the same thickness as shop-bought sliced bread. Put the slices into a bowl and cover in the marinade, turn the slices over in the bowl making sure they are completely covered. Cover the bowl in cling film and put in a fridge for at least 1/2 an hour. Please note if you are also marinating meat at the same time, make sure you prepare it in two different bowls and be sure to no cross contaminate the meat dish with the halloumi dish. You can have them in the marinade for over 1/2 and hour should you wish – so take the whole bowl out to the BBQ and take each slice out as and when you need it.
Cook the halloumi on the barbecue for around a minute and then flip it over and cook for another minute. If the slices are still quite soft and a yellow/light brown colour, then cook them on each side again for another minute. Ideally they will have a patchy brown exterior and be reasonably firm.