This Recipe Is Heaven for Halloumi Lovers

Tune in to Claudette Zepeda’s demo at the Food & Wine Classic at Home: Spring Edition so you can learn how to make it, too.

Claudette Zepeda

After two digital Classic at Home events last year—one in July, and another holiday edition back in December—our third Food & Wine Classic at Home will be taking place this Saturday, May 1. Food & Wine culinary director-at-large Justin Chapple will return as host, and we have a full slate of exciting seminars and demos on the lineup, covering wine, juleps, and of course, plenty of food. Cheese lovers in particular will want to watch chef Claudette Zepeda's demo, "Griddle Me This," featuring a spring-ready dish that stars halloumi.

For her recipe, Zepeda takes blocks of the salty, firm cheese and wraps them in hoja santa leaves, simmering them in a homemade charred strawberry and poblano sauce. The dish only takes a few simple steps to make—make the sauce, blanch the leaves, wrap the halloumi, and then simmer it all together—and it's ready in just under an hour, too. With some tortillas or flatbread on hand for serving (whichever you prefer), you'll have a delicious, cheesy meal you'll want to make all season long.

Read on for a step-by-step guide, and register for the Classic at Home so you can cook along with Zepeda this weekend.

Gather Your Ingredients

You'll need the following ingredients for the sauce: strawberries, one poblano chile, ripe plum tomatoes, tomatillos, a yellow onion, garlic cloves, leaves and tender stems from one bunch of cilantro, kosher salt to taste, and a pinch of black pepper. As for the hoja santa-wrapped cheese, grab halloumi, six large hoja santa leaves, and either tortillas or flatbread. If you can't find hoja santa leaves, swap in chard, and queso panela can be used in place of the halloumi.

Make the Sauce

The sauce for this dish starts under the broiler. You'll first char the poblano and strawberries, then transfer them to a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap, allowing them to steam for 15 minutes. Next, after peeling and deseeding the poblano, both ingredients go into a blender along with the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, garlic, and cilantro. Blend the mixture until it becomes a smooth sauce, and then simmer it over medium-high heat until it reduces by a quarter. Don't forget to add a little salt and pepper for seasoning.

Blanch the Leaves

While your sauce is simmering, take time to blanch the hoja santa leaves. You'll need a large pot of boiling water and a large bowl of ice water as well. Blanch the leaves in the boiling water and then place them right in the ice water (carefully, to avoid tearing) to prevent further cooking. Take each leaf and wrap it around a square of halloumi.

Cook the Cheese and Sauce

After you've wrapped the cheese in the leaves, heat up the sauce in a saute pan over low heat and then add the wrapped cheese in when it starts to simmer, making sure the cheese is seam-side down. Cook for about two to three minutes—until the cheese is melted but still holds its shape—then divide the sauce among six plates, add one wrapped cheese on each, and serve with either flatbread or tortillas.

What Else Is on the Menu at The Classic at Home: Spring Edition

In addition to Zepeda, we've got two more chef demos on the lineup. You'll learn how to make chef and Food & Wine executive producer Kwame Onwuachi's lobster and avocado salad with husk cherry piri piri, as well as chef Maneet Chauhan's corn and spring garlic pakora with fennel chaat and panch puran pineapple chutney. As for drinks, Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle will host a seminar called "Wine for a Healthy Planet," while Houston mixologist Alba Huerta is preparing three different mint juleps: a sparkling mint julep (which includes sparkling Gamay Champagne and Champagne grapes), a classic mint julep, and a spiced mint julep. Don't forget to tune in, and make sure you come hungry.

Catch the Food & Wine Classic at Home this coming Saturday, May 1 at 5 p.m. ET.

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