It was late summer as we sheltered from the hot Cypriot sun under vine leaves heavy with maroon globes of fruit at the favourite beachside cafe beloved of our hosts. Cats slept amongst the shady underbellies of old sun-bleached tables, waking only to curl their way around our legs as they begged for attention and tiny morsels of food. There being no other guests there, lunch came quickly, dish after dish – no menu was required or even offered so well did the proprietor know her favourite guests; a vibrant Greek salad, creamy hummus with warm pitta, grilled fish of several varieties served with juicy wedges of green lemons, warm slices of a wild green and feta spanakopita, courgette fritters served with a red pepper dipping sauce and slices of grilled cheese drenched with lemon juice. I later learned that the latter was kefalotyri, a classic hard cheese made from pasteurised sheep and goat’s milk. Its texture makes it perfect for frying resulting in a soft unctuous centre of salty cheese enclosed within a crispy shell. For my version of this classic dish, it’s the perfect foil for sweet orange blossom honey and super umami nigella seeds.
Extra-virgin olive oil
200g Odysea kefalotyri cheese, cut in half lengthways (you can also use halloumi)
Greek orange blossom honey, to serve
Nigella seeds, to serve
How I make it
Take each slice of cheese and dip it into a shallow bowl of cold water and then into the flour. Shake off any excess flour.
Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a shallow frying pan and carefully add the coated slices of cheese. Fry until golden brown, a couple of minutes for each side.
Remove the cheese from the pan, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Serve immediately as part of your mezze table.