Grilled Halloumi SandwichesJun 28th, 2012 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Cheese, Cypriot, Dressing, Featured, Greek Grill, Herbs, Honey, Lemon, Olive Oil, Olives, Onions, Peppers, Pickling, Quick, Recipes, Sandwich, Snacks, Vegetarian, Vinegar
The frequency of my blog posts may have lessened a bit but I can assure you I’ve been cooking, keeping very busy with activities that came about with thanks to this blog. I am currently recipe testing and preparing for my next Greek Supper Club and I have also been offering up my take on Greek street food with souvlakia, kebabs and even something for the vegetarian!
Each month here we have the Toronto Underground Market (TUM), inspired by the original initiative that began in San Francisco to allow aspiring cooks, chefs and those without a restaurant to showcase their food to large gathering. The first TUM took place last September but I was in Greece and couldn’t plan in time to be ready. In fact it took me until this past March before I could wrap my head around the idea, get “all my ducks in row” and commit to this extension of Kalofagas.
I’ve sold homemade phyllo pies but the big draw has been charcoal grilled meats inserted into fresh pita bread and served with my own homemade sauces. The meat offerings all have been very popular and rather thangive a pork, chicken and beef sandwich with similar flavourings, I made a point to create a unique flavour for each sandwich.
A trend that no one can ignore is the rise of vegetarianism in society and when TUM asked vendors (yes I am a vendor now) to include veggie options on our (collective) menus, I answered the call and decided to showcase another one of my favourite cheeses, Halloumi. It’s also known as the squeaky cheese as when you bite it, it squeaks in your mouth! Halloumi is a PDO product from Cyprus and although there are some locally made versions of it, the real deal is my favourite. Made of sheep/goat milk blend, slightly salty and the best part about this cheese is that it also holds-up well to sautéing and grilling.
The basic premise of this sandwich is grilled Halloumi cheese slices slipped in a warm pita pocket with veggies and a light dressing. Food is as much about taste as it is about texture: squeaky, briny Halloumi melting in your mouth and crunchy veggies in the mix. Sometimes its too hot for meat and yes, my soul calls for something on the lighter side.
In the sandwich are some chopped Kalamata olives, some sliced peppers, purslane, baby spinach and some crunchy quick-pickled red onions. A good spoonful of a lemon/mint dressing kissed with honey, mint and dried Greek oregano. Halloumi to the rescue!
Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches
8 slices of Halloumi cheese
4 pita breads (the kind you can make a pocket of)
Pickled red onions
1 /2 medium red onions, sliced
1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. chopped fresh mint
pinch of dried Greek oregano
salt and pepper to taste
warmed pita bread
baby spinach leaves
sliced red or green peppers
chopped pitted Kalamata olives
- To make your quick-pickled red onions, place the sliced onions in a small bowl with a sprinkle of sugar and salt (to taste) and drizzle some wine vinegar and toss. Allow to “pickle” for about 15 minutes, strain and reserve.
- Pre-heat your gas grill to high, brush the surface free of any residue and slice your Halloumi cheese and reserve. Organize, cut, sliced your garnishes and set aside.
- To make the dressing, add all the ingredients in a small jar and seal and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust flavouring/seasoning accordingly.
- Once your grill is hot, Wipe the grill surface with an oiled paper towel and place your Halloumi slices on the grill. Sear for about a minute/side and remove from the grill.
- Insert two slices of Halloumi into each warmed pita and stuff with baby spinach, sliced peppers and chopped olives then add a spoon of the dressing. Serve with a Cypriot Xinisteri white.
* Try making your own pita bread
Enjoy the slideshow of my TUM activites, next one is next Saturday July 7th (some tickets left)
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© 2012, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.