Thursday, June 21, 2012

Halloumi cheese and romaine lettuce:
a match made for the grill

I’ve seen Halloumi cheese called for in recipes, all of which had one thing in common – the cheese was cooked on the grill.
   This intrigued me, a cheese that could do well on a grill, so when I saw it in our local cheese store recently, I bought it.
   I went searching for a recipe in which to try it, and happened upon Grilled Romaine and Halloumi Cheese with Mint Vinaigrette (click for the recipe).
   I wanted to try the recipe because, not only did it call for grilling Halloumi cheese, it also called for grilling romaine lettuce, another common cooking technique which we have never tried.
   Well, we tried the recipe, and it was absolutely wonderful.
   Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough. Try it this summer and you’ll impress yourself and your friends.
   Not only is it suitable for a casual dinner party, it was weeknight easy. We made it on a weeknight and it came together easily.
   Halloumi cheese, made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk, has a high melting point, making it ideal for grilling and frying.
   My husband put it on the grill at first, then finished it up in a frying pan on the burner on the side of the barbecue. He wanted to make sure it didn’t melt through the grill, although he said if he kept the cheese on the grill it probably would have been OK.
   The grilling creates a salty, crisp outer shell and gooey middle for each piece of cheese. Luckily, the Halloumi is not only great fresh off the grill, it’s also great even after the cheese has cooled down.
   And then there’s the romaine. The romaine hearts did very well on the grill. They took on the delicious flavour of the dressing that is brushed on it.
   The dressing is made by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh mint, Dijon mustard and finely-chopped garlic. The dressing is brushed on sliced red onion and quartered hearts of romaine (easily found in most supermarkets).
   The grilling is done in three steps: First the red onion, then the lettuce, and finely the cheese.
   To serve, the romaine hearts are put on plates, the onion is scattered over, and the Halloumi set beside it. The dishes are drizzled with additional dressing and sprinkled with more fresh mint.

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