While cooking, listen to this: The Schuyler Sisters - Hamilton, An American Musical
I'd like to dedicate this post to cheese.
Both the food and the sentiment. In case you haven't noticed, both Rina and I are very much of the share-your-feelings camp. I for one, love to tell my friends how much I love spending time with them. If anything, I'm an overly exuberant bubble of pure joy. But my sentiments are always genuine, and I can't express how much a good friend means to someone in their twenties, still fumbling their way through adulthood.
Thank goodness today's hump day, because I've been feeling scratchy and groggy all week. Time to chug some Emergen-C, I suppose (I've actually never done this and would love to hear testimonials because it sounds disgusting).
This week, though, my friends have really been the pillar that has held me up through the drudgery of the work day. Whether it's a gchat, a quick coffee run or a girls' night at one of my author's book parties, being with my friends was just the hit of dopamine I needed to get me through the rest of the week.
So, friends of all shapes and colors, thank you for being there for your buddies. What to you seems like a simple virtual message, is something that makes them smile on a day they're feeling under the weather.
Now, on to the other kind of cheese. Truly, one of God's gifts to mankind (I'm pretty sure she created cheese on the seventh day). I know that there's some kind of scientific woo woo about cheese being like crack, but I just don't care. I absolutely LOVE cheese. When I saw this video on Facebook, I immediately texted Rina two words. Halloumi. Fries.
And let me tell you, these fries are delectable.
Topped with tahini, pomegranate syrup, lemon and a sprinkle of parsley, these fries are mozzarella sticks on steroids and the perfect compliment to any meal. Honestly, you could top them with whatever strikes your fancy (I bet chipotle mayo would be a game-changer, though, to be fair, everything goes with chipotle mayo), and they would be delicious.
The perfect balance between crunch, heft, salt and grease, these fries are the kind of snack that, just like a good friend, will get you through the work week. Even the kind of snack that will make you new friends. A bit of cheese with a side of cheese - sounds like the perfect pairing to me!
Yield: serves 4*
Total cook time: 25m
Source: Heavily adapted from BBC Good Food
Special equipment: wok/heavy bottomed pan, tongs
*let it be known that the two of us nearly polished this off ourselves, so keep that in mind
18 ounces (2 standard packages) halloumi
½ all-purpose flour (or more or less, depending on need)
Canola oil, for frying*
Fresh lemon juice
*the oil should be about ½-inch deep in your pan.
Heat the oil: pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pan (a wok is my go-to) and place on high heat. You'll know that the oil is ready when bubbles form around a wooden spoon placed into it.
Prepare your "drying station": line a large plate or baking dish with paper towel to put the fries once they're ready to be taken out of the fryer.
Prepare the halloumi: cut the halloumi into fry shapes. Use a sharp knife and work slowly - some halloumi brands tend to crumble easily! Once all of your halloumi is cut, put some flour onto a plate and coat each fry in it, making sure to get all the cracks.
Fry the halloumi: once the oil is ready, fry the halloumi in small batches. The more you put in at a time, the more the temperature of the oil will decrease, and the longer it will take for the fries to fry nicely. Using tongs or chopsticks, carefully place some fries in the oil. There's a lot of liquid on the halloumi, even with the flour coating, so expect some serious sputters and stand back. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until they turn a beautiful golden shade. Once they're ready, place on the paper-toweled plate so the oil can drain off a bit. Repeat until all of the fries are done.
Prepare the toppings: in a small bowl, mix tahini with the fresh lemon juice - I don't give exact measurements because the flavor is totally subjective and up to you. I, for example, think that there is no such thing as too much lemon, but that isn't for everyone. If using, mince up some parsley.
Top the fries: place the drained halloumi fries on a large plate and drizzle generously with the tahini and pomegranate syrup. Garnish with the parsley.
To serve: immediately! Like all fried foods, these are best warm but will still taste great at room temperature.
To keep: shockingly, these stayed crispy for a while, which is very unlike fried food. Even when they were put in the fridge and later reheated in the oven they maintained some crisp. That being said, these keep well in the fridge and will keep for about 1 week, but I seriously doubt you'll have any left to get to that point.