Grilled halloumi with roasted vine tomateos
8-10 sprigs of thyme
2 tsp olive oil, plus a little extra for frying
2 x 250g blocks of halloumi
2-3 vines of cherry tomatoes
salt and black pepper
Halloumi is to the Lebanese what mozzarella is to Italians. I love the way the taste of halloumi turns from soft and salty to sweet and caramel-like when it’s pan-fried until golden. To give it that savoury edge, I marinate the slices first in thyme and seasoning before they go in the pan. While they’re cooking I take sprigs of cherry tomatoes and cook them just until the skins burst and blister, then arrange them on top of the slices. It’s a very simple dish, loaded with flavours and textures, and I always make it when I have friends over at home.
Pull all the leaves off the thyme and put in a large, shallow bowl. Add the oil and season with salt and pepper.
Slice each pack of halloumi into eight or nine pieces and lay the slices in the oil mixture, rubbing it all over each piece. This can be done up to a day ahead.
Heat a frying pan until hot and fry the halloumi pieces for
1-2 minutes on each side until golden. Arrange on a plate.
Meanwhile, heat a drop of oil in another frying pan and fry the cherry tomato vines until the tomatoes are cooked and the skins have blistered. Season, then lift them out and arrange on top of the halloumi, and serve straight away.