Crispy Halloumi ‘Fries’ with Roasted Tomato Dip
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Is there anything not to love about fried cheese? While it’s a rhetorical question, we think you know the answer is “no.” And that’s why we’re pretty enamored with these crispy halloumi “fries” from I Heart Cheese by Mihaela Metaxa-Albu.
“Squeaky halloumi cheese holds up tremendously well on the griddle,” Metaxa-Albu writes, “and makes a fun, new twist on french fries.” Instead of ketchup or marinara, the author shares a garlicky, roasted-tomato dip to complement them.
According to Metaxa-Albu, you can think of this dish as “mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce but with a bigger punch of flavor.” She suggests pairing the fries with a medium acidity white wine, like a chenin blanc. (Don’t mind if we do.)
Reprinted with permission from I Heart Cheese by Mihaela Metaxa-Albu, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020.
Roasted Tomato Dip
17½ ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
10 to 12 garlic cloves, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
16 ounces halloumi cheese
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 to 3 tablespoons sunflower or avocado oil, for frying
Small bunch fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Make the Roasted Tomato Dip: In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper. Toss until coated, then transfer to a baking dish.
3. Place the dish in the preheated oven and roast until the tomatoes are charred on the top, 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Make the Halloumi “Fries”: Meanwhile, cut the halloumi cheese into ½-inch-thick sticks.
5. In a bowl or a shallow dish, mix the flour, paprika, onion powder and oregano until well combined. Add a few pieces of the halloumi cheese at a time and lightly, but evenly, coat them with the flour mixture. Shake to remove any excess flour.
6. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the halloumi “fries” and cook until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes total. (Use a pair of tongs to turn them so they cook on all sides.) To get a crispy exterior, don’t overcrowd the skillet; work in batches of 8 to 10. Transfer the “fries” to a paper-towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
7. When the roasted tomatoes are done, transfer all the contents, including the juices, to a blender. Blend until the mixture resembles a chunky dip. Taste the dip and adjust the seasoning to taste.
8. To serve, arrange the halloumi “fries” on a large platter and place the dip in the middle. Sprinkle with the parsley.