Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Unmeltable

I've long been intrigued by halloumi cheese. I think I first learned of it when Nigella prepared fried halloumi on TV as a party snack years ago, and I was fascinated by this curious Cypriot cheese that would never melt. In the intervening years I would confuse it at various points with havarti (a semi soft Danish cheese) and halva (not even a cheese) but it finally came back to the forefront of my mind over a breakfast table in the Dominican Republic.

A couple of years ago I, along with several friends, was eating the most delicious breakfast at my friend Vivian's family home in Santo Domingo. The staff at her house had prepared quite the spread, but it was the fried, unmeltable cheese that squeaked against my teeth that I could not get enough of. I briefly considered buying some and bringing it home, but soon realized the flaw in that plan and opted to settle for those versions available in New York.

I was in Murray's Cheese the other day and came across this:

Good memories came flooding back and I immediately picked up a package to be tucked away until breakfast time, when I would fry up a slice or two.

Over a medium flame in a cast iron skillet I fried these porcelain white slabs to a crisp golden brown. They are of course perfect on their own but I could not resist gilding the lily at least slightly...with some strawberry balsamic preserves that I had put up over the summer, a drizzle of honey and some sriracha sauce.

Not quite as lovely as a meal eaten in warm weather under a veranda in a tropical locale, but blissful in its own small way just the same.

12 comments:

Jane said...

I have to try it. I have been meaning to for years, like you. I am more likely to do saganaki if doing a bit of cheese frying but it looks like halloumi will go better with sweetness. xoxo

Laura in Paris said...

I have never tried thsi cheese. I have to se if I can get it here in Paris!

French Fancy said...

*The staff at her house*

Oh what a lovely phrase to be able to put. Just imagine having staff. I know lots of people with the ideals that I don't have being quite disapproving, but I think, as long as someone receives a fair day's pay, why not employ someone to do the things that you don't want to do?

I've never had this cheese and as I am about to start WW it doesn't look likely I will start now - especially as I don't think I've seen it in our bit of France

mise said...

It's one of my favourite cheeses, especially for its squeak, and your enhanced version looks lovely! It's also really nice as a cold snack (I mean cooked and cooled, not just uncooked).

shelby h.k. said...

UGH yum! this looks delectable! and j'adore nigella...she's delectable too!

xx

Laura [What I Like] said...

Jane - I absolutely love saganaki...you're right, this can go sweet or savory which is one of the many nice things about it.

Laura in Paris - I can't imagine that the cheese capital of the world wouldn't have something that is at least simiar!

French Fancy - The more I've traveled to and talked to people from countries that have more of a culture of "help" the more I've gotten comfortable with it. Employers act as a bit of a social service safety net...paying for children's schooling, etc. It's just a different set up, that's all.

mise - oh, I should fry some up and keep it in the fridge then!

shelby - I couldn't agree more, I went to a book signing of hers and was embarrassingly star struck!

Angie Muresan said...

There's a Middle Eastern deli close by that carries the cheese. I've considered it before but didn't know anyone who had actually had it. I will try it now.

VV said...

I am glad the "queso frito" left such a lasting impression :) In the Dominican Republic we just called it frying cheese and sadly I had never seen it here in NYC. I am really excited that you have found it!! Thank you Laura!!

Esther said...

It's like my dream come true. I want to eat it soo bad!!

Thanks for sharing ;D

Millie said...

One of my absolute faves too Laura. I love mine sitting on a bed of peppery rocket leaves(arugula). Your accompliments sounded yummo!
Millie ^_^

Meg said...

Hey! I just discovered your blog- I really like it! Haloumi is indeed pretty awesome-- Have you ever been to Mogador? I just wrote my own blog post about it-- try their Haloumi Eggs for brunch- if you <3 haloumi cheese, you'll <3 this.
Check mine out if you'd like:
www.ripened.blogspot.com

Keep up the good work!
meg

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