Baked Halloumi with Mint and Sumac

Halloumi is a salty, firm cheese from Cyprus that holds its shape when grilled. In this easy but impressive appetizer, halloumi is marinated briefly with mint and purple, lemony sumac, then baked before served with lemon wedges. The spectrum of salty, herby and sour flavors hit all the right notes, surprising and delighting everyone I’ve served it to.

This has become a go-to appetizer in the last few months as vaccinated friends have started to gather again. I loved halloumi in various forms when I spent a summer in Lebanon in 2009. This version is inspired by a recipe from Salma Hage, a Lebanese grandmother who gathered her childhood vegetarian recipes for her beautiful Phaidon cookbook. I’ve had success with the oven broiler as well as a toaster oven, although the later takes a few more minutes to broil.

RECIPE

1 bunch fresh mint

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sumac

3 1/2 ounces halloumi, sliced into 8 pieces

lemon wedges, to serve

METHOD

Mix together the mint, garlic, olive oil, and sumac. Arrange the haloumi slices in a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour the dressing over them, turning so each slice is covered. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Preheat the broiler on a high setting.

Put the dish under the broiler and broil the halloumi for 4 minutes on each side, or until golden and the edges become crisp. Remove from the heat and serve warm with lemon wedges.

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