Monday, February 6, 2012

Halloumi and Pancetta Rolls

From my friend Michelle

A couple of years ago on Christmas Eve, I looked at the Christmas dinner that I had worked at all day and decided that it just wasn't worth it. It was beautiful and the food was nice, but I was completely exhausted from preparing everything that by the time dinner started I just wanted a bowl of cereal and to curl up on the couch. SO this last year I focused on recipes that were really simple, but still special and decadent. Hopefully over time I will have a collection of great standbys that I can whip up for parties without wearing myself out over details.

ANYWAY, this is one of those recipes. It's simple and you can put it together in ten minutes before just popping it in the oven. It's not particularly diet friendly, but for a special occasion it is perfect.

Halloumi is a cheese from Cyprus and used often in Greek and Turkish food. It looks like mozzarella but is soaked in brine, which makes it fairly salty. What makes Halloumi special is it's higher-than-normal melting point, which makes it ideal for grilling and frying without melting all over the place.

Pancetta is basically the Italian version of American bacon. It isn't smoked and often has different spices, but behaves the same way and can usually be substituted with regular bacon without any problems.

Serves 5-6
9 oz Halloumi cheese (250 grams)
12 slices of bacon
1 Tbsp chopped chives
Black Pepper

Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C)

Cut the Halloumi into 12 strips, and roll the pancetta around the cheese.
Lightly season the rolls with chives and pepper. DO NOT SALT. The cheese is already quite salty and any more could push it over the edge. Put on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the pancetta is starting to crisp and turn brown.

You can cut them in half if they are too big, or skewer with toothpicks to help keep them together. Best served warm.

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