Grilled Halloumi with Chilli & Mint Pesto
PREP TIME: 10mins
COOKING TIME: 60mins
Grilled halloumi topped with mint and chilli pesto and sweet slow roasted cherry tomatoes, what more can I say, I love this dish. Quite surprising really as I am not the biggest fan of halloumi, but I am converted.
Like mozzarella, not all halloumi are made equal, find one that you like, preferably one generously salted as bland halloumi is dull. I like Babylonstoren version made with buffalo milk.
Slow roasting tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and it makes a lovely topping or addition to lots of dishes like salads, morning eggs and pasta dishes.
You can make the pesto in a mortar & pestle or the small bowl of your food processor. In this case (i.e a small amount of pesto), I find making the pesto in a mortar & pestle the quickest. I prefer the pesto chunky, so if you don’t have either, you can easily cut the pesto very finely by hand.
If you are short on time, you can leave out the roasted tomatoes as the dish would be equally good without them.
Recipe inspired by the talented chef Rich Harris.
Getting Ahead: The tomatoes can be roasted 3 or 4 days ahead. The pesto can be made ahead but will discolour. The halloumi is best served straight from the pan.
Seasonal Swaps: You can adapt the pesto to your liking with herbs that you have. Wow, pine nuts are expensive these days, you can substitute with sunflower seeds which you toast in the oven on 180c for 10minutes.
Would be amazing on a mezze platter served with a gorgeous salad, a caponata, grilled something and a glass of bubbles in your hand.
What you'll need:
a really good non stick frying pan, a pestle & mortar or food processor for the pesto.
- 350g halloumi, thickly sliced lengthways
- a good olive oil
- juice and zest 1/2 lemon
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
- 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- salt & pepper
Chilli & Mint Pesto
- 15g mint leaves, leaves only
- 15g basil, leaves only
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled
- 1 red chilli, seeded, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or toasted sunflower seeds
- extra virgin olive oil
- a pinch salt
- (OPT: lemon juice and zest to taste)
- Heat your oven to 15oc
- To slow roast the tomatoes: Mix the oil with the garlic and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Lay the tomatoes in a single layer on a large baking tray, drizzle the olive oil mixture over the tomatoes and rub in with your hands, season generously with salt & pepper. Roast for 60 minutes or until the tomatoes are jammy and slightly caramelised around the sides. Remove and keep aside.
- To make the pesto, add the mint and basil leaves, pinch of salt, garlic and chilli to your mortar & pestle and pound to a rough paste, add the nuts and pound until the pesto comes together, now add enough oil to form a pesto to your liking. In this case I kept my pesto chunky. Taste and season, you might feel the pesto needs a squeeze of lemon juice, zest or more salt.
- For the halloumi, drizzle a little olive oil in a very good non stick frying pan, depending on the size of the pan, add the halloumi slices, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, you probably need to do this in batches, fry the halloumi on both sides until golden, lay on your serving plate. Continue until all the halloumi pieces are fried. Season with the zest & lemon juice.
- To serve, drizzle mint pesto over halloumi followed by the slow roasted tomatoes. Enjoy!