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Do you know what it’s like to live with a reconstructed faddy eater? It’s like with the buses: dearth for years and then suddenly you eat nothing but the newly discovered comestible.
It happened with carrot cake, it happened with prawns and with Thai food. It happened with haloumi.
The Weather Man (since of course, it is he I am talking about) didn’t used to touch the cheese in his dark ages. As he got more adventurous, he’d claim to be ‘not a big fan’ of haloumi; meaning – he still didn’t touch it but wouldn’t run away at the sight. And then suddenly snap! click! bang! kapow! and now he wants haloumi all the time.
I’m pleased, because I love the cheese. Gorgeously rubbery, gooey but not dissolving, tasting of nothing much at all, it must be the mother of processed cheese. I bet the founders of Kraft Foods were Cypriots. It’s not terribly versatile and can’t match mozzarella or Cheddar in their melting qualities but it’s a great starter and very good in salads. You can bake, fry or grill; batter, fritter or skewer it.
Plus, which is what really matters here, it is the best meat patty replacement in a burger. It’s so right, you might be tempted to put a slice of Monterey Jack on top of it…
haloumi burgersServings: 2 burgers/slidersTime: 45 minutes
- large red pepper
- 1 medium aubergine
- 1 red onion
- salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- dried oregano
- olive oil
- 250g (8oz.) halloumi cheese
- burger buns
- sweet chili sauce
1. Core the pepper and cut into quarters. Cut the aubergine into 2cm thick slices. Peel the onion and slice 1cm thick rings. Salt all the slices generously on both sides and leave for 10-15 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Pat the vegetables dry and season with black pepper and dry oregano; sprinkle the onion slices with the sugar. Place on a large baking tray in one layer and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30-35 minutes until soft and a little charred.
3. Slice the haloumi thickly (1cm). Heat a large heavy frying pan over medium heat. Fry the halloumi for about 3 minutes on each side until browned. Toast the buns while the cheese is frying.
4. To assemble, place an onion slice on the bottom half of the bun followed by a pepper quarter, a slice of halloumi, aubergine and a couple more halloumi slices.
5. Drizzle with sweet chili sauce, put the top bun on and serve with fries, coleslaw or green salad.