This is a recipe I came up with after having seen a few cheese-based fries recipes floating about the Internet and in magazines. Most such recipes look really delicious – Stretch Armstrong-gooey or soft explosions in the mouth. Oh my! But sadly, the deal-breaker for me is that they are fried. Which I guess is to be expected when something is called fries.
Such an indulgent recipe is of course a little off-piste for food to glow, but humour me a little as I’m feeling all feisty and off-message today. I blame the blanket of fog that has descended across the UK and seems to have invaded my brain.
These aren’t full-on fat bombs, but they do have saturated dairy fat from the cheese, and they are high in sodium, so respect the very modest portion sizes and valiantly resist eating the whole batch. I don’t usually take my own advice very well, but I knew that if it wasn’t heeded: a) I would be monstrously full with no room for a proper meal, and b) my blood pressure would soar like a rocket. Obviously that’s just me, but do see this as a cheeky appetizer before a wholesome meal. They are very tempting though. You have been warned.
Sorry, didn’t mean to “fry-ten” you.
As well as the Creole version with easy marinara dipping sauce, I’ve also made a North African tweak (shown) using ras-al hanout. I had a most satisfying lunch by popping four of the squeaky golden fries onto a flatbread laid with salad leaves, pomegranate seeds, red onion and tomatoes. A squoosh of lime to serve was all it needed. You could also whap some fries into a wrap with loads of salad and maybe some cooked beans too. So, with a modicum of self-control these could be the wild card ingredient in a salad or wrap-type of lunch.
What’s your favourite “cheeky treat” these days?
Baked Halloumi Fries with Creole Marinara Dipping Sauce Recipe
Cheeky, squeaky baked fries in cheese form. Not an everyday food, but quite a fun and tasty one. Try as an appetizer with the dipping sauce, in a wrap with salad and sprouts, topping a veg-stuffed egg-white omelette, dipped in low-salt ketchup, or plunged into your favourite bean or nut-based dip (we like this one and this one a lot). Because of the high sodium content in halloumi cheese I strongly recommend either buying a no-salt Creole seasoning blend, or making your own. Here is my one in this recipe for Pan-fried Creole Cauliflower Fritters.
Creole Marinara Dip
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
1 tsp no-salt Creole seasoning blend (here is my recipe)
1 x 400g (14 oz) carton of whole tomatoes, crushed or chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano OR 1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of sugar or drizzle of honey (just for balance)
1 bay leaf
Method for Creole Marinara Sauce: Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over a low-medium flame. Gently sauté the garlic and the Creole spice blend until the garlic is softened, then add the remaining ingredients. Simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and pulpy. Crush with a potato masher or, removing the bay leaf first, use a hand blender to blend. Taste for seasoning, remembering this is going with something salty so maybe only add pepper or a pinch of sugar. Set aside to cool.
Baked Creole Halloumi Fries
250g (8.8 oz) pack of halloumi cheese (lower fat is fine but the texture is not as pleasing), cut to make 15-16 fingers
75g (2.6 oz) coconut flour or unbleached flour (I use coconut flour – much better than other flour in this case)
1 tsp salt-free Creole seasoning blend (see above for link to my recipe)
Baked Halloumi Fries Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place in the oven for five minutes.
2. Pour the coconut flour onto a plate and stir in the Creole seasoning. You could also do this in a plastic bag. Press each halloumi slice into the coconut flour, turning to coat well. You shouldn’t need anything to help the flour to adhere, but you could spray each slice lightly with the oil spray before dredging and pressing into the flour.
3. Remove the tray from the oven and spray with oil spray.
4. Quickly, so the heat doesn’t dissipate too much, place the halloumi slices onto the lined baking tray, spray the slices with oil spray (lightly) and slide the tray into the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip with a thin spatula and bake for another eight minutes, or until golden and slightly crisped at the edges. Serve with the warm Creole marinara sauce, or as described in the header notes.
Note: Leftovers (ha ha) can be reheated for five minutes but won’t quite crisp up again.
More Halloumi Recipes From Food To Glow
Halloumi Recipes From Others
White Wine, Mushroom Bruschetta with Halloumi, via Amuse Your Bouche
Aubergine, Tomato and Halloumi Bake, via Tinned Tomatoes
Cauliflower & Halloumi in Tomatoes, Fennel Stock & Saffron, via Deena Kakaya
Warm Halloumi & Butternut Squash Salad, via A Dash of Ginger
Olive Garlic Halloumi Spelt Bread, via Tin and Thyme
Smoky Halloumi Pasta Bake, via A Mummy Too
Masala-Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Halloumi, via Cook Sister
And for the very keen, here’s a link for making you own halloumi cheese from The Guardian.