Everyone’s favorite squeaky cheese is also the island of Cyprus’s most famous export, says cookbook author Yasmin Khan, and the locals have dozens of ways of eating it. In this recipe from her book, Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, she serves it in a simple meze, which pairs the salty cheese with sweet honey and aromatic thyme. It’s the ideal appetizer: sweet, salty, crunchy, and fried.
tsp. finely chopped thyme
8–10-oz. package Halloumi cheese
cup fine-ground semolina flour or cornmeal
Tbsp. vegetable oil
bunch arugula, tough stems trimmed
cup pomegranate seeds
fresh black Mission figs, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat honey and thyme in a small saucepan over medium-low, swirling pan occasionally, until warm (do not let honey boil). Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to use.
Cut Halloumi into 8 slices. Lightly beat egg in a small bowl, then place semolina flour in a medium bowl. Working with 1 or 2 pieces at a time, dip Halloumi into egg, letting excess drip back into bowl, then gently toss in semolina flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook Halloumi until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels and let drain 1 minute.
Mound arugula on a large plate or platter and arrange Halloumi and figs on top. Drizzle with warm honey and scatter pomegranate seeds over. Season with a few grinds of pepper.