Hailing from Cyprus, halloumi (hellim in Turkish) is a type of cheese special to the region regularly used in Greek and Turkish cuisine. Cheesemakers mainly use goat's milk to produce this rubbery textured cheese. Since it does not melt easily, you can grill or fry halloumi to enjoy it at breakfast or as a mezze or starter.
If you would like to elevate the flavor and presentation of the cheese, we suggest this grilled halloumi wrapped in vine leaves from experienced cooking enthusiasts and cookbook authors Lale Apa and Hande Bozdoğan’s curated cookbook Istanbul Contemporary Cuisine. Although the seasons for fresh vine leaves are late spring and early summer, they can also be found jarred in brine all year long. With halloumi, vine leaves make a fresh and light starter.
Ingredients: Serves 6
2 packages Halloumi cheese
14 fresh or jarred vine leaves
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Sweet chili sauce, to taste
Thoroughly rinse the cheese to remove excess salt, cut into 14 slices and soak in warm water for 2-3 hours.
Wash the fresh vine leaves in warm water, blanch in salty water for about 15 seconds, then soak in ice water.
If using jarred vine leaves, soak in warm water for 4-5 hours to eliminate brine.
Rinse and pat dry cheese and vine leaves. Then place the vine leaves on a clean surface and place a slice of cheese in the center of each one.
Gather up the edges of each vine leaf to form a rectangular package and brush both sides with olive oil.
Grill on BBQ or in charcoal-grill pan until you see the grill marks on the vine leaves.
Transfer to a platter, drizzle with chili sauce, and serve immediately before the cheese hardens.