Living in a predominantly Greek neighborhood for over ten years now, I'm well versed in the awesomeness of halloumi—a salty and squeaky semi-soft cheese that transforms into one of the most delicious things on the planet after being pan-fried or grilled. Hailing from Cyprus, it's usually made of goat or sheep's milk. The cheese is so ingrained in my life at this point that I often forget that many people have never heard of, let alone tried, this wonder before.
I recently cubed a couple blocks of halloumi and threaded them onto skewers with onions, zucchini, and tomatoes that were tossed in a Greek-influenced vinaigrette of oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, and mint. I grilled these up at a barbecue, and for the uninitiated, it was nothing short of a revelation.
I meant for these skewers to be served with warm pita and tzatziki to be made into instant sandwiches, but instead I watched the golden crusty cheese get picked clean from the skewers, leaving the vegetables sadly passed up. Consider that fair warning—this veggie and cheese combo works great as cohesive skewer, but the all-encompassing power of halloumi will certainly steal the show.
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- Yield:Serves 6 to 8
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon, plus 1 additional lemon cut into wedges for serving
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound halloumi cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into into 1/2-inch rounds
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use
- Tzatziki, for serving (optional)
- Pita, warmed, for serving (optional)
- Type of fire: Direct
- Grill heat: medium-high
Whisk together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and mint in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes, and toss to combine.
Alternatively thread cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes on skewers.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers over direct heat until cheese browns and zucchini has slightly softened, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove skewers from the grill to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon wedges over skewers and serve immediately with tzatziki and warm pita.