Saturday, March 3, 2012

Halloumi Vegetable Skewers

In the EU, a skirmish has emerged between dairy producers and sheep/goat farmers over whether halloumi cheese will contain cow's milk or not, and at what ratios with sheep and goat's milk. The conflict has delayed it's registration as a PDO - Product Designation of Origin, a badge proudly warn by feta, parmesan, and 600 other products. A free-for-all in the cheese section! Here in the US, it's registered as a protected Cypriot product. So with a clean conscience, we put together these delightful little numbers.

Halloumi is fresh curd that has been heated, shaped, then placed in its own brine. This results in a harder texture and higher melting point than other cheeses, making it a resilient accomplice of any BBQ fiend. We cut the Mt. Vikos halloumi up into squares and staggered them with onions, mushrooms and red peppers. Next, we sprinkled the line-ups with kosher salt and fresh pepper, then drizzled on a healthy (read: possibly unhealthy) amount of olive oil.

We placed the skewers on the Big Green Egg grill over an indirect 225 degrees for 20 minutes. The result was a phenomenal mixture of fresh vegetables and melted product protected beauty.

When we opened the halloumi package, there was a mint leaf in there, which was promptly, and incorrectly, thrown out. It's there as a hold-over from a time when the cheese was preserved in mint wraps. Next time, we're going to chop up mint and sprinkle it over the skewers, as a nod to our pioneering Medieval pals responsible for the one and only halloumi.

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