Halloumi with Strawberries, Pickled Chilies, and Carob Molasses

Louisiana’s own Chef Zachary Engel of Shaya has been nominated for the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards’ Rising Star Chef of the Year, presented by S. Pellegrino.

 Shaya is owned and operated by 2007 Louisiana Cookin’ Chef to Watch Alon Shaya. In 2016, the wildly popular eatery won the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. The menu combines traditional Israeli dishes with local flavors to create a cuisine that has captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Zachary recently shared with us the recipe for his signature dish, Halloumi with Strawberries, Pickled Chilies and Carob Molasses.

“[This dish is] representative of the food we’re cooking at Shaya – traditional foods brought to Israel by immigrant cultures in tandem with ingredients from Louisiana…we have an incredible strawberry season that lasts most of February till June,” says Zachary.

The James Beard Awards take place Monday May 1st. We’ll be watching and rooting for Zachary.

Halloumi with Strawberries, Pickled Chilies, and Carob Molasses
Yields: 4 Servings
  • ¾ lb fresno chile peppers (or wax peppers)
  • 2 sprigs oregano
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 16 oz halloumi cheese, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons carob molasses
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Cut the stems off the top of the peppers with a small paring knife. Insert the paring knife into the pepper and scrape out all the seeds and pith into a large bowl. Discard the stems and seeds and place the peppers in a large container with a lid.
  3. On a cutting board, crush the garlic with the side of a knife. Place the garlic, oregano, water, vinegar, salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium sauce pot; bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the pickling liquid sit for 3 - 5 minutes and then pour over the peppers. Let the pickled peppers cool until room temperature.
  4. With a small knife, remove the leaves and stems from the top of the strawberries. Place the strawberries in a shallow baking dish with the bottoms of the fruit facing up. Sprinkle the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the fruit is a dark garnet color. Keep the strawberries in the syrup and cool to room temperature.
  5. In the frying pan, heat the canola oil to approximately 400 F. Carefully, place the halloumi in the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Flip the cheese over with a long pair of tongs, as necessary. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel to catch any excess grease.
  6. Pour the strawberries and their syrup on the bottom of a plate and place the halloumi on top of the fruit. Chop the pickled chilies into large pieces and sprinkle approximately one pepper over the top. Drizzle ½ tablespoon of carob molasses over each portion.
*This recipe has not been tested by Hoffman Media test kitchens.



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