You guys. I can’t believe I’m just now posting this recipe. When A and I were in Greece (Milos) last year, we visited twice the restaurant that the owners of our bed & breakfast ran during our stay. The restaurant had fantastic food and one of our favorite dishes was grilled halloumi cheese with fig butter. We ordered it twice. It was amazing and we couldn’t get enough of it. I knew that at some point in the future I was going to include it in the blog because it deserved a place in the spotlight.
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese but is quite popular in not only Greece but in parts of the Middle East as well. Traditionally, it’s made from sheep’s (and sometimes goat’s) milk, though in recent years, some halloumi has been made with cow’s milk. In Syria, halloumi is used for stuffing cheese pastries because it maintains its shape and tends to stay in place (read: it is not an “oozing” type of cheese). Some people love eating it with watermelon while others prefer to enjoy it on its own. It’s a bit reminiscent of mozzarella (but saltier and harder/crisper).
The only negative is finding the cheese as it tends to be a seasonal offering dependent on milk production. Middle Eastern stores carry it year round. However, since we don’t all have access to these types of stores, Trader Joes has us covered during May. You can find it in the cheese section and it runs for about $5 per package (an outstanding deal as Arabic stores tend to charge upwards of $7). The cheese freezes well and lasts up to about a year in the refrigerator when unopened – obviously check your own label for exact expiration dates.
Grilled Halloumi cheese with fig jam
- 7 oz halloumi cheese
- fig jam or fig butter
- Cut cheese into squares or slices depending on preference.
- Place in lightly oiled skillet on med and allow to brown on each side until golden and toasted looking.
- Serve with fig jam.
*Halloumi is a Middle Eastern cheese that can be found in specialty grocery stores during the spring season. Trader Joes carries it in May.