Crispy Halloumi with Roast Tomato Maftoul

This recipe from our friends at Riverford Organics is inspired by Saganaki; a traditional Greek appetiser of fried cheese. Halloumi is coated in polenta and herbs with a drizzle of honey, to give a moreish crispy coating. Not all the sesame and thyme coating will stick to the cheese but, don’t worry, the crispy honeyed bits left in the pan add a satisfying bit of crunch.

Serves 2. Prep time: 10 min. Cooking time: 20 min

Ingredients
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil for roasting
  • 200g maftoul
  • 500ml veg stock
  • 60g green olives
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 15g parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp polenta
  • 1 pack halloumi
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 50g watercress
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Put a kettle on to boil.
  2. Halve the tomatoes and place cut-side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for approx. 20 mins, until slightly charred around the edges.
  3. Meanwhile, put the maftoul and stock in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 8-10 mins, until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Keep to one side.
  4. While the maftoul cooks, slice the olives. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the parsley, including the stalks if they’re not too thick.
  5. In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tbsp water. Put the polenta on a plate. Cut the halloumi into 2cm cubes. Dip the halloumi cubes in the egg, then the polenta. Set aside.
  6. Heat a frying pan. Halve the lemon. Place in the frying pan, cut-side down. Cook for 1-2 mins, without moving them, until charred. Set aside.
  7. Heat a good drizzle of oil in the same pan. Fry the halloumi for approx. 1-2 mins each side, until golden. Add the honey, thyme and sesame seeds, turning the cubes to coat.
  8. Once the tomatoes are ready, add the garlic, maftoul, olives, parsley, watercress and the juice from half the lemon to the tray. Mix, adding a drizzle more oil, a turn of pepper and more lemon juice, if you like.
  9. Drain off any excess stock from the maftoul. Divide the maftoul between 2 plates. Top with the halloumi and any honeyed sesame bits from the pan.

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