Delicious Cypriot fried cheese and couscous packed with red veggies makes for a quick and easy meal!
Reader, have you ever had halloumi? I first had it in 2011 and I fell in love with it right away. It’s a hard, salty brined cheese from Cyprus (also popular in places like Turkey and Greece) that is served fried or grilled in large slabs. Sometimes it’s called “grill cheese.” If you like feta cheese, or any cheese really, you should see if you can find halloumi at your local grocery store and whip up some for dinner.
Making halloumi is so simple. All you do is pop it in a pan with some oil for a few minutes and BOOM, done. Tasty fried cheese.
I also really enjoy eating couscous, especially in the summer when I try to use the stove as little as possible. It’s basically pasta, and so in the summer as my potential pasta meals–on nights when I don’t want to cook, or at lunchtime when I need something quick but don’t want a sandwich–become couscous meals. I’ve included one recipe below, but you can really use whatever you want. This roasted veggie version is great but involves turning on the oven so it isn’t ideal for those realllly hot July days. Of course, you can skip the roasting and use fresh veggies! If I were to make this now rather than six weeks ago when I had a kitchen, I probably wouldn’t have roasted them.
Anyway, I’m off to do some more exploring in Croatia, so once again excuse the short post! And please, if you haven’t had halloumi, go try it!
Halloumi & Couscous
For the halloumi
- 1 – 8 oz block of halloumi cheese, cut into 4 slices
- olive oil for frying
- black pepper, to taste
For the couscous
- 1 red pepper
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry couscous (I used whole-wheat)
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Drizzle red pepper with olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes. Rotate the pepper as needed. Add the tomatoes, also drizzled with olive oil, and continue roasting for about another 15 minutes until very tender. Set aside to cool. When cool, peel and chop the red pepper and halve the tomatoes. (Or skip the roasting entirely and use the fresh vegetables.)
In your favorite couscous receptacle (I like to use a large tupperware), place the 1/2 cup of couscous. Pour the boiling water on top, and cover the container with a lid. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before stirring in your peppers and tomatoes.
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. When hot (water flicked onto the surface should “dance” and sizzle), place the four slices of halloumi in the pan. Sprinkle with black pepper (don’t add any salt!). Cook on one side until golden brown, then flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. Total cooking time should be about 5 minutes. If the cheese seems like it’s sticking to the pan, it probably needs another 30 seconds or minute on that side.