Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grilled Halloumi At Pars And Nazars: Start Your Summer With The Cheese That You Can Grill

Grilled halloumi with pomegranate molassas
Ladies and gentlemen, start your grills.  Summer is here, and the first thing that you should throw over the coals is . . . cheese.

Not a cheese burger.  Not cheese melting on top of something else.  You need to cut half-inch slices of cheese, drop them on the grill, and let them brown for a few moments on each side.

To pull this off, you need to buy yourself the right cheese.  That's halloumi cheese, a brined white cheese so firm that it keeps its shape even over fire.

A spectacular, simple dish:  Halloumi cheese sliced about a half-inch thick.  Grilled for 2-3 minutes per side until the faces have browned slightly.  Then topped with a few lines of pomegranate molasses.  The sweet, rich molasses contrasts with the salty, warm cheese.  With just a block of cheese and a bottle of molasses, you can create an exotic appetizer or start an easy dinner.

Check out both the cheese and the molasses at the Persian Pars Market or the Turkish Nazar Market -- both near Snowden River Parkway in Columbia.

Of course, that's just a start.  We ate halloumi at Zaytinya in Washington, and it was amazing.  Probably pan-seared, which also makes a crisp, warm layer of cheese.  Then augmented with sliced dates, citrus and mint.  Search "halloumi recipe," and you'll find all kinds of ideas -- halloumi in salads, on burgers, or even serving as the "bread" in a grilled sandwich with a white bean paste inside.

If you're grilling, check out the butchers at Pars and Nazar for ground lamb.  Check out the entire Grilling Week series from 2010 that paired local ethnic groceries with Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue.  And you could call the markets before you visit.  Pars sells the cheese so quickly that they were out this weekend.  They get more all the time.


Tom Coale (HCR) said...

My wife worked as an archaeologist and registrar at a dig in Cyprus, and Halloumi was one of her favorite foods (nicknamed "Squeaky Cheese" because of the sounds it makes when you eat it). We were there for our honeymoon and had Halloumi and Ham grilled sandwiches. Amazing.

Happy to see there is a good source for Squeaky Cheese here in the States.

Annie Rie said...

Roots also carries Mt Vykos brand halloumi, if you can't find it elsewhere.