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.