These are like mozzarella sticks but better.
Sear them and wrap in foil just before you leave for your picnic. This way they can be served warm, dunked in the spicy, fruity marinara sauce. Serves 4 to 6
12 ounces (340g) cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper1 tablespoon harissa paste (not the watery, salsa-like stuff)
1 pound (450g) halloumi cheese, drained, blotted dry, and cut into sticks about 3/4-inch thick
Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, honey, garlic, and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Cover, place over medium heat, and cook until the water releases from the tomatoes and they’re bubbling away in it, about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and keep cooking, stirring every once in a while, until the tomatoes are just starting to stick to the bottom of the pan but there’s still a good amount of liquid, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the harissa and cook just 2 minutes more, to wake its flavor up a bit and perfume the sauce. Remove from the heat, cool for a few minutes, then puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with a little more salt and pepper, if you want, but remember that you’ll be serving this sauce with halloumi, which is salty. Pour into a resealable container and refrigerate until ready to serve. This sauce will keep in the fridge for at least 5 days.
About an hour before you plan to leave for the picnic, sear off the haloumi. The easiest way is in a large nonstick skillet, but you can also use your broiler and a baking sheet lined with foil. Place your skillet over high heat or preheat your broiler. Add the halloumi sticks to the skillet (or line up on the baking sheet) and cook until golden brown on the bottom, 60 to 90 seconds. Using tongs, flip the sticks and repeat on the other 3 sides. Line up the halloumi sticks on two stacked sheets of foil. Fold up the edges of the foil and crimp to close the top. There, now you’ve got a portable halloumi purse that should keep the cheese warm until you’re ready to dunk them in the fruity-chile-ey marinara.