Hellim (halloumi) and pastirma are two things that we grew up on as kids. The pickled charred shallots cut through the richness perfectly.
For the pickle
- 350ml/12fl oz red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 5 tbsp sugar
- olive oil, for frying
- 4 banana shallots, halved lengthways, first two layers removed
For the pastirma and halloumi
- 2 pastirma sausages (about 80g/3oz total), or 3–4 sausages of cooking chorizo, each peeled (see Recipe Tip) and cut into 4 rounds
- 225g pack halloumi, rinsed and cut into 4 equal slices, each about 1 finger’s width.
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- ½ lemon, juice only
- 10g/⅓oz chives, finely sliced
- large pinch dried flowering oregano, plus extra to serve (alternatively use regular dried oregano)
To make the pickle, mix the vinegar, salt and sugar in a bowl or jug with 175ml/6fl oz water.
Heat up a dry frying pan over a high heat until it’s just starting to smoke. Rub a little oil and sprinkle some salt on your shallots. Put the shallots in the pan, flat side down, and don’t move them. We want the shallots to colour to give the pickle a little extra dimension.
Char the shallots until they are completely blackened – about 4 minutes. Turn them over and turn the heat off, allowing the residual heat in the pan to cook the other side.
Add the pickle liquor into the pan while still hot and let the shallots sit in it for at least 3 hours.
Peel the skin off the pastirma. The easiest way to do this is to make a slit along them length ways and hold under cold running water as you peel (the water makes the skin tighten, which helps). Cut each sausage into 4 equal rounds.
Pour a glug of olive oil into a frying pan over a medium heat and add your pastirma. Slowly fry for about 5 minutes to allow the oils to bleed out and the edges to get a little crispy. Remove from the pan, place in a bowl and set aside.
Wipe the pan with kitchen paper and add another glug of olive oil. Fry the halloumi, again on a medium heat, for about 3 minutes on each side until it’s golden and crispy.
Add the pastirma back to the pan along with the honey. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and scatter over some oregano. Let the honey bubble for about 30 seconds.
Divide the halloumi and meat between plates, along with the juices from the pan. Seperate the shallot petals and scatter a few over. Finish with the finely sliced chives and a little more oregano. Serve with bread or enjoy on its own.