Seared halloumi with spicy salsa

A salsa of sweet, flame-roasted red peppers, lime juice, fresh tomato and green chillies makes the perfect accompaniment for these texture-rich cheese bites

Funny stuff halloumi - the salty Cypriot cheese is a bit like polystyrene, but rather delicious. Here we sear it and serve with salsa, but it's also ideal barbecued on a skewer with some red peppers, mushrooms and onions or served as the Cypriots do with a couple of poached apricots, the sweet and sour notes of which complement the cheese perfectly.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 pack halloumi
A splash of olive oil

For the salsa

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 red pepper, roasted and skinned
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 handful cherry tomatoes or 1 large
juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

Roast the pepper - this is very easy and the results are incredible. Piece the pepper with a knife a few times to allow steam to escape. If you have a gas hob, hold the pepper with a pair of heat-proof tongs and blacken all over – it'll take about ten minutes. Alternatively, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and pop the pepper in on a greased baking tray for about half an hour.

Put the blackened pepper into a plastic bag and seal, or into a bowl and then seal with cling film. Leave for about ten minutes, then scrape off the skin. If you do this under a running cold tap the pepper cools while you work.

Scrape out seeds and discard white pith and stalk. Finely dice and add to a large bowl. Add the green chilli, red onion, limes, salt, sugar and olive oil. Finely chop the tomatoes and add them, seeds and all. Leave the salsa in the fridge for half an hour or so to let the flavours marry wonderfully.

Cut the halloumi into half centimetre slices. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the halloumi in batches until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a great pile of the delicious salsa and some pitta bread for mopping.

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