Ingredients: halloumi (cheese), orange bell peppers, onions, button mushrooms
Marinade: vegetable oil, garlic, paprika, chili powder, cumin, thyme, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt
Served with: white rice, bread, basil
Grilling is a pain and a half without a grill, but what’s the alternative? Not grilling? Unacceptable! I make due with a big cast-iron grill pan. I’ve put a ton of time, way too much time, into getting the “seasoning” correct on this pan. Basically, any cast-iron cookware needs to have a thin layer of oil burned onto it, which acts as a non-stick coating. Maybe I’ll devote a post to this process at some point. It will be boring. Maybe I won’t post about it after all.
At any rate, today I prepared a mix of orange bell peppers, onions, button mushrooms, and halloumi. You might not be familiar with halloumi, but you should be! It’s a salty, somewhat rubbery cheese from Cyprus, a bit like a super-firm block of mozzarella. What’s unique about halloumi is that it doesn’t melt, so you can pan-fry or grill it. This puts a delicious brown crust on the surface and takes away the rubberiness. In fact, the resulting texture is very similar to grilled chicken, so it makes a great meat substitute.
For the vegetables, I prepared a quick seasoning oil with minced garlic, paprika, chili powder, cumin, thyme, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and plenty of salt. I tossed the onions and peppers in that first, then the mushrooms afterward (since they will soak up everything that remains). Everything came out tasty and nicely charred. The mushrooms were especially delicious. I love it when they are just barely cooked in the middle, so that a little snap remains when you bite into them. So good!
I like serving mixed grill plates with a bit of white rice, since the flavors are so rich and intense. My girlfriend prefers grilled bread, so I just made a bit of both. I garnished the plate with some freshly-torn basil to go along with the herby, spicy veggies.