As dinner started shaping up last weekend, it took on a decidedly Greek flavor. I had marinated chicken in lemon, garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper.
We had some pita left over from a hummus appetizer taken to a school picnic. Romaine lettuce formed the basis for a Greek salad. And my foodie daughter suggested the crowning glory: Fried Haloumi Cheese.
Constitutionally incapable of refusing a food request that so perfectly complements a meal, I trundled off to buy Haloumi. Upon arriving at the cheese section of our local (high end) grocer, I received a severe sticker shock: an 8 oz package of Haloumi sold for $11.99. That is not a typo. But, in for a penny, in for a pound, or, in this case, $23.98, so I forked it over.
We followed the package directions for frying the Haloumi.
1. Cut cheese into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
2. Place slices in hot, lightly oiled skillet. (The recipe suggested no oil, but after watching the cheese sit for several minutes in the pan with no brown crispiness appearing, I drizzled in some olive oil. The haloumi began to sizzle and all was well.)
3. Flip slices, and brown on other side. Total cooking time, approx 4 minutes.
4. Squeeze with lemon wedge and serve immediately.
(In addition to the lemon juice, the package suggested a sprinkling of capers over the top as well. We followed their advice and ended up agreeing with only the lemon. The cheese already has a briny saltiness which is what capers bring to the party–so we found them overkill.)
The result was truly delicious, but I couldn’t justify the cost on a regular basis. I tried it with queso blanco, the cheese used in Mexican dishes and it was pretty good. Also tried it with feta. The taste and texture were lovely, but the feta didn’t hold together. I ended up scraping (delicious) browned bits out of the skillet and practically pouring the rest onto the serving plate. Upon researching, I learned that fried feta does better when dusted with flour.