lemon, fennel and halloumi

i continue to be smitten by anna hansen’s lemon, fennel and halloumi combination, which she serves as a bruschetta and which i’ve been adapting in various ways – potatoes in place of the bread, pasta and fresh ricotta plus plenty of basil and now a straight swap of pasta for bread.

this is a real favourite at the moment - recently i’ve made it a couple of times in as many weeks and already have my eye to a third time.

the adaptations are simple – i cut the fennel into slightly smaller pieces but then roast this, on a sheet of greaseproof paper and under foil, with the sliced lemon zest, lemon juice, fennel seeds, olive oil and ground pepper plus cubes of halloumi (i don’t bother soaking these overnight beforehand, as the original recipe calls for, as the textural difference is minimal). after 15 minutes at 180c the foil is removed and everything returned for another 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese and fennel to develop slightly crispy/caramelised edges.

to pull the dish together i toss the cooked pasta (make sure you put this on so it’s ready about the same time as the fennel and cheese - i ended up with overly-toasted cheese when i got distracted and started the pasta late) with a little cream or soft cheese, just to moisten everything, before adding the fennel and halloumi mix. sometimes i add a handful of peas or bread beans as well and the garnish of crispy capers is well worth making the effort for.

parmesan when serving adds extra richness although you won’t really need it – the melting creaminess of the halloumi, with the ever-magical combination of lemon and fennel should be enough to win you over.