Recipe for pastirma with halloumi

Serves 6

Pastirma, also spelled bastirma and basturma, is a Middle Eastern salt-cured and dried beef typically seasoned with cumin, fenugreek, garlic, and paprika. Home cooks can find good quality cured beef and halloumi at Sevan Bakery in Watertown, says chef Mehmet Ozargun of Cafe Mangal in Wellesley.

8 ounces halloumi cheese
About 20 thin slices (3 to 4 ounces) pastirma, at room temperature
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 ripe tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
tablespoons chopped fresh basil

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1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a baking dish at least 10 inches long.

2. Cut the halloumi into ½-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice in half lengthwise to make 2 rectangles, each about 2½ inches long. Place the cheese in a bowl of cold water to remove some of the salt; set aside for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

3. On a counter, wrap 1 or 2 slices of pastirma around the cheese so the cheese is mostly covered. (If the meat is too strong for your taste, rinse slices before using.)

4. In the dish, set the halloumi bundles seams down. Brush lightly with butter. Add the tomato wedges to the dish.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese softens. Sprinkle with capers, chives, and basil.

Adapted from Cafe Mangal