Fried halloumi with caremalised fennel

caremalised fennel halloumi 2 edited resized.JPG

I made halloumi from scratch for the first time last weekend! And it worked! Here's one of my subsequent creations which I served up for a friend the other night. She hadn't tried halloumi or fennel before, and I think I sold her on both accounts with this dish.

Store bought halloumi will work just fine here, but if you'd like to have a go at making it yourself, the recipe I followed (which worked really well) can be found here. I ordered my cheese making supplies from Green Living Australia in Queensland who had fantastically speedy service. Making halloumi requires some patience, but the product is well worth it and it's so satisfying to convert a big pot of milk into a tasty block of cheese oneself.

Serves 2

  • 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered and cut into 5-10mm thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
  • pinch fennel seeds, toasted and ground (just add to the caraway and prepare together)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 100g halloumi cheese, cut into 5mm thick slices

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the fennel, ground spices and tarragon and cook until fennel begins to soften. Add the wine (if using, otherwise just keep cooking as is) and cook until pan is almost dry and fennel is tender and golden. If the pan dries out and fennel browns before cooking through, add a little water.

Transfer fennel to a bowl and toss with lemon juice and fresh herbs.

Rinse out the pan before cooking the halloumi. Unless using a non-stick pan, or if the teflon coating is starting to go, add a little oil to coat the pan. You don't need much oil as the halloumi will release its own fat as it cooks. Turn the heat up to high and when the pan is nice and hot add the halloumi slices. Don't add the halloumi while the pan is still cool or it will melt into a blob before a nice crust forms. Fry halloumi until light golden on the underside then flip and cook until both sides are light golden. This will only take around 1-2 minutes per side.

Arrange the fennel on plates and serve the fried halloumi atop the fennel.