Grilled halloumi and vegetables

Halloumi, for those of you not in the know, is a Greek cheese that you can grill or broil or saute. It doesn’t melt! Why doesn’t it melt? I’m thinking it has to do with its crazy rubber-like, chewy, salty nature. While I was at the family cabin this summer, my parents went back and forth between their house in Minneapolis during the week and up to the cabin on the weekends. So every week my mom would call or email and want to know what I wanted her to bring up. One week I thought having grilled halloumi and vegetables would be a nice dinner and asked her to get 2 or 3 packages of halloumi.

She ended up with “3 lbs halloumi” written on her shopping list.

We had quite a few grilled halloumi dinners. Enough, in fact, for me to finally figure out that the way to grill it isn’t in cubes on a skewers, which tends to make the cheese crack and break apart and stick to the grill, but cut into long rectangles put straight on the grill that can be manipulated individually, as well as decently oiled, making them easier to cook evenly.

Notice above the technique of putting the same vegetables on the same skewer, allowing for different cooking times for the different veggies (tomatoes are done quickly, red onions take a bit more time; see more about grilling vegetables). Just skewer everything, brush everything (including the halloumi pieces) with olive oil, sprinkle the veggies with a bit of salt (seriously, the cheese is really salty, so just enough to season them a bit), and grill until done how you like them. As you can see, we like things with a crusty edge at our house. Some may even call it a bit burnt, but we don’t.

Even my dad, who is not a particular fan of meatless dinners, loved the hearty texture of halloumi along with brightly colored grilled cherry tomatoes and chunks of zucchini. He also got pretty into grilling it. As he put it, “it’s kind of fun to grill something like that, that looks so pretty.”

We served it with a lemon orzo pasta (cook orzo in chicken broth, drain, toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest – add chives or parsley with whatever floats your boat and serve it hot, warm, or even chilled) and a mint chutney (whirl a bunch of mint, a hot green chile like  a serrano, a few stems of parsley, a clove of garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and salt to taste in a blender until smooth and saucy).