Saturday, July 20, 2013

Peppers Roasted with the Haloumi Cheese

Summer is about bright colors and beautiful fresh and aromatic vegetables. So today, after summer's best tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs, it is time to try peppers. I bought mine at the local farmers market. This time I used red but next time I intend to try this dish also with the new, purple kind, which I saw at the market.

I recently tested this Mediterranean dish on a friend who is very familiar with Mexican cuisine. And maybe because it was made with peppers, he loved it. When I made the dish and the house was filled with an aroma of roasted peppers it reminded him the aroma of the roasted Mexican poblanos, which is one of the most memorable aromas of his childhood.

It is simply a wonderful summer dish when locally grown peppers are sweet and full of flavor. Peppers are filled with the Haloumi cheese, originally to be found in the traditional Middle Eastern food stores, but now becoming quite popular and pretty widely available. A little bit of oil, lemon juice, spices and the dish is ready. It can be served with a warm white baguette or fresh pita bread, as a dish in itself, or as a starter.

Peppers Roasted with the Haloumi Cheese
(Serves 4)

4 bell peppers,
1/2 lb Haloumi cheese,
1/4 cup roasted pine nuts,
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
juice from one lemon,
a couple of branches of fresh thyme,
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped,
one tbsp caper fruits or seeds to serve with (optional),
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Wash peppers and cut them in half (you can leave stems) and remove seeds with white membranes. Rub the skin of peppers with oil and place them on a baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl mix remaining oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and half of thyme leaves. Spread the mixture inside the peppers.
4. Slice the Haloumi cheese and divide it among peppers. Toss the rest of the thyme leaves and pine nuts on top.

5. Bake for about 20 minutes until the peppers turn brown and Haloumi melts and becomes slightly gold.
6. Serve immediately, as Haloumi will harden as it cools.