Halloumi is a magical cheese that will not melt, even on a grill pan. It manages to keep its shape, and only softens a bit over high heat, releasing more flavor when hot.  This pretty one-bite halloumi appetizer combines cheese with a salty charcuterie.

In trying to keep with the Greek theme for Hobnob’s party menu, I searched for pastourma (aka pastirma), a type of charcuterie, but could not find some in time for recipe testing. What I did have on hand was Surryano, a dry cured ham from Virginia that was featured on pizza in our Lazy Pizza Party. The saltiness and perfect fry-ability of the ham worked perfectly with the halloumi grilling cheese.

To give it a slightly sweet and citrus-y bent, I then matched it with Greek honey flavored with lime and lemon verbena. These are great just off the skillet, and may get a little chewy when cooled, but the flavors are absolutely perfect together.

MAKES ABOUT 25 BITES

MAKE THE HONEY-LIME SYRUP

1/4 CUP Ariston Greek Wildflower Honey
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp lemon verbena, minced

Pour honey into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for about 15 secs, till honey is warmed through and thinner in consistency. Whisk in lime juice and lemon verbena. Remove lemon verbena leaves. Funnel into a plastic squeeze bottle. Refrigerate if not using right away.

GRILL THE HALLOUMI

11 oz halloumi cheese
10 slices Surryano Dry Cured Ham
bamboo picks

Cut brick of halloumi through the center lengthwise, then each half into 1/4-inch thick slices, then cut those into 3/4-inch slices. You should end up with slices approx 3/4-inch wide by 1.5-inches long by 1/4-inch thick. Next, cut the ham into 1/2-inch strips to wrap around the halloumi. (It should slightly overlap, ideally) Spear the halloumi onto bamboo picks carefully, driving the stick directly through the center. Heat a skillet. Brown about 1 to 2 min each side. Fan out on a plate.

TO SERVE

halloumi-ham bites
10 lemon verbena leaves, cut into thin ribbons
honey lime syrup

Sprinkle lemon verbena ribbons over the bites and drizzle syrup liberally.

See more recipes inspired by the flavors of Greece in 17 Greek Food & Wine