Why You Should Marinate Halloumi Before You Grill It

Grilled halloumi in cast iron pan
Grilled halloumi in cast iron pan - Ilia Nesolenyi/Shutterstock

Among the many delicious varieties, whether luxurious and rare or casual and common, one of the most unique cheeses is halloumi. Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened, salt-brined cheese traditionally made from goat's or sheep's milk, however, cow's milk is now sometimes used. Because it has a high melting point, halloumi is often grilled and used as a vegetarian meat substitute. Halloumi boasts a mild yet tangy flavor accented by saltiness. Although grilled halloumi can be dressed up fresh off the grill, marinating the cheese beforehand will imbue it with the most flavor.

Prepare your marinade by whisking your ingredients together in a bowl before submerging and tossing the diced or sliced halloumi into the amalgam of flavors so that all the pieces are covered. Alternatively, you can also keep the halloumi block whole and score it with a knife to let the flavors seep in. Let the cheese marinate in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. However, you'll get the most out of your halloumi marinade by soaking it overnight. Next step -- fire up the grill and enjoy some perfectly cooked halloumi!

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

Tasty Ingredients For A Halloumi Marinade

halloumi in marinade with herbs
halloumi in marinade with herbs - Veronika Idiyat/Shutterstock

Marinades are customizable and adaptable, but most of them are built on a foundation of cooking oil and acid. Seasonings, herbs, and spices also play a key role in marinades, but the exact combination is ultimately your choice. Because halloumi is pre-salted during its manufacturing process, there's no need to introduce any additional salt to your marinade. Too much salt in a halloumi marinade is overpowering, and balance is key to achieving a great marinade.

For a simple halloumi marinade, combine Italian olive oil with lemon juice and garlic powder. The olive oil will enrich the cheese with its bright grassy flavor while carrying the fat-soluble flavors of garlic, as the lemon juice bolsters its naturally present tang. Or, take things up a notch by assembling a crave-curbing marinade made with olive oil, crunchy chili crisp, citrus zest, chopped shallots, and fresh oregano. The chili crisp provides the mild, slightly zippy cheese with savory heat that's soothed by the sweet citrus zest and punctuated by the pleasantly bitter oregano.

If you like to cook outside the box, ditch the olive oil and use plain Greek yogurt as your fat source. Paired with citrus juice, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, and mint leaves, this marinade takes on a refreshing yet savory bravado that's perfect for Indian-inspired dishes.

How To Serve Marinated Grilled Halloumi

Grilled halloumi on salad
Grilled halloumi on salad - Julia Sememova/Shutterstock

Use the marinated cheese to fashion a grilled halloumi and peach salad. Nestled on a base of mixed greens with fennel, red onion, tomatoes, and nuts, all drizzled with lemony pesto dressing. This summery salad is a refreshing and hearty meal that swings between peppery, umami-forward bites and sweet, tangy forkfuls. This salad is best for halloumi marinated with bright flavors like lemon and olive oil.

For a more robust meal, build a steak sandwich topped with red onion, arugula, and grilled halloumi, bookended by toasty sourdough bread slathered with herbed aioli. This sandwich is umami-forward, which makes it ideal for halloumi marinated with garlic and spicy seasonings. Halloumi is a Mediterranean cheese, so combining grilled halloumi with quinoa, cucumbers, lamb kebabs, Kalamata olives, and hummus makes for a perfect protein and nutrient-rich bowl. This well-rounded dish is perfectly suited for a mint and yogurt-marinated halloumi.

Next time you have halloumi on hand, don't just brush it with oil and throw it on the grill. Craft a halloumi marinade to infuse it with your favorite flavors. This versatile cheese will work beautifully with whatever is in season, or on your spice rack.

Read the original article on Daily Meal