Paprika Halloumi with Roasted Lemon Peppers & Pitta
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese that originated in Cyprus but is now widely available. I like it pan-fried or grilled as it always retains its shape and has a lovely, soft, springy texture. It can also be brushed with olive oil and cooked on the barbie as a good veggie option. To enjoy halloumi at its best eat quickly after cooking.
step one: If using fresh peppers, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Arrange the red peppers in a roasting tin and cook for 20–30 minutes until well charred and blistered. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave the peppers to cool completely, then peel, using a bowl underneath to catch all of the juices.
step two: Slice the peppers into thick strips, discarding the seeds and cores. Place in the bowl with the pepper juices and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or the oil from the jar of roasted peppers if using, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste and stir until well combined. Set aside until needed.
step three: When ready to cook the halloumi, heat a griddle pan or a frying pan until very hot. Cut the halloumi cheese into four thick slices, then dust all over with the paprika. Add the remaining oil to the hot pan and cook the halloumi for 3–4 minutes, turning once, until golden. Remove from the heat and squeeze over the remaining lemon juice.
step four: Immediately arrange the pitta bread on the heated pan and cook for 1 minute, turning once or until puffed up and lightly charred. Cut into slices on the diagonal. Spoon the roasted pepper salad into the centre of plates and arrange a piece of the grilled halloumi on top, spooning over the lemon-flavoured pan juices. Arrange the griddled pitta slices on the side to serve.
- 4 large red peppers (or a jar of roasted peppers in olive oil)
- 1 lemon, halved and pips removed
- 250g (9oz) halloumi cheese
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 4 white pitta breads
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil