Halloumi Fries

This week I’ve made a dish that’s perfect for pre-dinner nibbles or just to pass round with some drinks. These halloumi fries are very moreish – so make sure you have enough for your guests. The avocado based dip works great with the fries but try them with sweet chilli sauce or a cooked tomato sugo – you won’t be disappointed.

Halloumi originally comes from Cyprus and is traditionally made from sheep and goat’s milk. When making the cheese the curd is heated before being shaped, it’s then stored in brine which all results in an unusually high melting point, making it perfect for grilling or frying. It’s a cheese that has become very popular in this country due to its versatility and salty tang, ideal as a main protein source for vegetarian dishes. So much so that it’s sometimes battered and served with chips and mushy peas as a substitute for good old cod or haddock.

I’m not sure what the traditional Levantine cultures would make of our modern, western use of their beloved halloumi but if you wanted to try a more Cypriot way of eating it, serve hot, freshly fried slices of halloumi over cold, juicy watermelon and add a sprinkle of fresh mint – delicious.

The Method

Serves 4 as a pre-dinner nibble

250g pack halloumi, cut into chips
150g plain flour
4tsp zataar
sunflower oil for frying

1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2tsp rose harrisa paste
lemon wedges

1. Mix the flour and zaatar together in a shallow dish.
2. Add halloumi chips and dust with seasoned flour till coated.
3. Meanwhile, remove avocado from skin and mash with a fork, add creme fraiche and finally mix in rose harissa.
4. Bring oil to 180 degrees and fry chips in batches till golden – about 2 to 3 mins.
5. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
6. Serve with avocado dip and a skoosh of lemon.