From Too Many Chefs -

September 19, 2006
Fried Haloumi with basil

Haloumi is a magical cheese. It grills and fries, but doesn't melt like, well, almost every other cheese out there. I'm sure you could melt haloumi cheese if you really really tried and added some moisture, but its non-melting attributes make it a perfect choice for a fried cheese recipe.

I'm a big fan of good cheeses paired with herbs and I chose to accompany this fried cheese with a little fried basil. Hey, thank god it's fried day here on Too Many Chefs. OK, it's Tuesday, and maybe I should have held that joke for a few more days so it actually worked with the day of the week, but I couldn't. It was bursting to come out, but was having trouble since it was so weak.

This would be a great dish as a starter for a dinner party. It can be made in front of the guests who inevitably congregate in the kitchen, and doesn't take any time at all to put together. I haven't tried it, but I'm sure you could keep the fried cheese warm in an oven as you finished off another batch.

I won't put a formal recipe together here. Start with about three tablespoons of olive oil and about 25 basil leaves for a four ounce cube of haloumi. Slice the haloumi into broad flat slices of 1/4" thick. I get 5-6 slices per block.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, toss in the basil and stir lightly, making sure the leaves get coated with oil on both sides (and thus, fried on both sides). After about 60 seconds, remove the leaves from the pan with a fork, leaving as much oil behind as possible.

Lay the cheese slabs into the skillet carefully. Fry on one side until flecked with golden brown, about 2-4 minutes. Flip carefully and fry on the other side until the other side is also flecked with golden brown spots. Remove from the pan, do not blot, and serve with the basil leaves distributed over the top. Serves 2-5 as an appetizer.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at September 19, 2006 8:03 AM

sounds yummy... i need to try this.

great photo, btw.

Posted by paul on September 19, 2006 at 11:35 AM

What does Dr. Redhead say about this starter? (Aside from "it's delish"!)

Fried cheese....mmaahhhh...

Posted by Meg in Paris on September 19, 2006 at 11:48 AM

Actually, Dr. Redhead said "Fried fat is good!"

I don't think she meant from a health standpoint, but she did enjoy it.

Posted by barrett on September 19, 2006 at 11:58 AM

I usually order Haloumi as a starter at our local Greek restaurant around the corner, but never tried cooking with it myself... Fried cheese is evil - and soooo good!

Posted by Nicky on September 21, 2006 at 4:43 AM

for the best halloumi recipes

Posted by Nicos on November 22, 2006 at 4:53 AM

Where do you buy your haloumi? I live in Seattle and it looks like the local Whole Foods and Delaurenti (an Italian deli specializing in cheeses from around the world) don't have it.

Posted by Mark on January 20, 2007 at 10:15 PM

I loooooovvvvveeeeee saganaki mmmmmh mmmmmh mmmmmh.x

Posted by Dawn Bailey on April 6, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Had fried haloumi for the first time at the weekend while camping, bloody delicious, now a regular item on my shopping list

Posted by John on September 7, 2009 at 11:40 AM