On Iron Chef a few weeks ago, Michael Symon used something intriguing. Alton Brown explained that it was halloumi, a Cypriot cheese with a special distinction: it has a relatively high melting point, and can, therefore, be seared. You can throw this cheese (which, if authentic, is non-cow, so it's safe for people with casein allergies or light lactose intolerance) in a hot pan (or even on the grill), and the outside of it gets crispy and golden-brown, while the inside slightly softens. The result is a beautiful thing.
It took me a while to finally procure some halloumi; I think other people who saw the episode also made a run on Central Market to try it out. I finally got some last week, though, and got the chance to try it out today.
OHMYGODTHATWASSOGODDAMGOOD. It's like a little grilled cheese sandwich, or maybe a cracker with cheese melted inside of it. Either way, it's yummy, and just so interesting.
If you track down some halloumi and decide to try it out yourself, I recommend this:
- Cut it into ~1 cm thick pieces. You should probably then cut those pieces diagonally (I didn't). Basically, make them roughly cracker-sized, but thicker (the thicker pieces had more gooey yummy cheese in the middle).
- Sear each side for a little under 2 minutes (about 1:45 seemed to be best, but I wasn't careful about it).
That's all. Top it with whatever you feel like topping it with. I used some leftover basil leaves and slivered almonds to make some pestoish stuff, which was good, but get creative. I think my next try will be to copy the Isaac Newton sandwich at B.D. Riley's, and top the cheese with bacon and green apple slices. I'll let you know how that goes, but I'm having a premonition that it'll be awesome.
Let me know in the comments if you try it out, or if you have any other ideas for what to do with it.