Halloumi Frittata with Lemon Chilli Mushrooms

I read months ago of a halloumi shortage looming, so promptly stocked up because I love this weirdly rubbery, salty cheese. Last night most of the last packet went into an omelette, a lazy omelette that firms over the hob and gets a soufflé finish under the grill. I served it in big wedges like I might serve griddled polenta which its golden colour resembled. Piled between the wedges I added a stew of meaty chestnut mushrooms added to sloppily wilted onion, chilli and garlic with microplaned lemon zest and juice. I added spinach and coriander at the last moment but that’s an additional extra. It’s the sort of thing that would be perfect piled over garlicky toast or into buttery pasta. Either way, finish with a shower of Parmesan. Do try it.

Serves 2

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 25 min

6 eggs

150g halloumi

for the mushroom stew:

1 onion

40g butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

300g medium-size chestnut mushrooms

¼ tsp chilli flakes

1 lemon

handful of young spinach, optional

few sprigs coriander, optional

grated Parmesan to serve

     Begin with the mushrooms. Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt 10g butter in the olive oil in a spacious, lidded sauté/frying pan and stir in the onions with a generous pinch of salt. Adjust the heat so the onion cooks steadily but without browning. Stir regularly; you want it slippery soft and hardly coloured and this takes at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and slice the garlic into thin scraps. Wipe or peel the mushrooms and cut in half. If using spinach, wash and shake dry. Chop the coriander. Stir garlic and chilli into the softening onion and cook for a few minutes until onions sloppy and garlic aromatic. Stir in the mushrooms, stirring as they take up the oily juices and seem too dry. Keep cooking and tossing and when, after a few minutes, they turn damp-looking, microplane-zest the lemon over the top. Toss and turn off the heat. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl and grate the halloumi over the top. Season with black pepper and mix thoroughly. When you are ready to eat, eat the overhead grill and melt remaining butter in a reliably non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, swirling it round the sides to cover. Pour in the omelette mix and watch as it begins to set and turn white at the edges, reduce the heat slightly and cook for a couple of minutes before placing the pan under the overhead grill, about 5cm from the heat source. Watch as it puffs and billows, turning the pan so it cooks evenly; you want it to just set but still be a tad wobbly in the middle. Remove to rest and have 2 warmed plates at the ready. Quickly reheat the mushrooms, stir in the spinach and coriander, if using, stirring constantly; it’s ready when the spinach has wilted. Serve 2 wedges of omelette per person and spoon the mushrooms between and over them. Lavish with grated Parmesan.