It’s been sunny one day here in Suffolk and stormy the next but I don’t care – it’s June and it’s barbecue season. Much as I love sticky barbecued ribs and spatchcocked chickens, a barbecue doesn’t have to be meat-based.
These halloumi skewers need to marinate for a while but are quick to prepare and take minutes to cook. Put them in their marinade on Friday night and by Saturday you can be reverting to childhood and eating lollipops for lunch.
Salsa verde usually contains anchovies. I’ve left them out here and used black olives instead because not everyone likes anchovies; vegetarians don’t eat them; and the halloumi is salty enough on its own. Next time I make this I’ll chop a small red chilli into the marinade – consider it an optional extra.
Halloumi Lollipops with Salsa Verde
1 block of halloumi cheese, cut into six equal oblongs
For the marinade:
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
3-4 sprigs of mint, leaves stripped and chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
A few good glugs of olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salsa:
1 small bunch of parsley
Few sprigs of mint
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
3-4 gherkins (depends on their size, you need about 1 tbspn when chopped)
About 6 black olives, pitted and chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of up to 1/2 lemon
1 heaped tspn of Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt, to taste
Finely chop all the marinade ingredients and mix together in a bowl. Add the chunks of cheese and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours (or overnight if you have the time).
To make the salsa, finely chop the first five ingredients, stir through the mustard, add half of the lemon juice and whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust the amount of lemon juice and seasonings if necessary.
If your skewers are wooden, soak them in water for half an hour while you heat the barbecue or grill. Push the ends of the skewers gently but securely into the cheese so you have a lollipop. Re-baste with the marinade as you begin cooking or they may stick to the barbecue.
Grill or barbecue for around 10 minutes, turning to make sure they’re browned all over, brushing with the leftover marinade as you turn them. Try serving with a bowl of the salsa, some good bread and a variety of salads.