Halloumi comes from the Greek word "almi", which means salty. And that it is. But due to this high salt content and the fact that the curd is cooked during cheesemaking, the cheese has a higher than usual melting point and, in turn, a unique capability to hold up to grilling, without dripping between the grates.
So, how to grill halloumi? Read on... Traditionally made with raw goat or sheep milk, or a combination of the two, Halloumi's industrial versions, as one may painfully expect, are normally made with pasteurized milk and can use cow's milk, too, in order to offset the cost.
It's soaked and left to mature indefinitely in brine, kind of like Feta. And before the days of refrigeration, even despite the hot Grecian climate, the cheese was virtually imperishable, serving as a very practical means of sustenance. Left plain, it has a squeaky texture and a saltiness that can border on stinging depending on its age.
Grill Halloumi to encourage its complexity indoors or out, and try serving it with preserved lemons and freshly chopped mint. Marinating the cheese overnight (a good simple option could be rosemary and olive oil) is great for an intense infusion throughout. Olives are also an excellent compliment to the natural brininess of the cheese, and while you're at that grill, throw on some crusty bread, too.
Halloumi can be found at igourmet for $9.99/lb and at most specialty grocery stores.
(Image: Martha Stewart)