Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6. Line a medium size baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.To prepare the chicken cut each chicken breast ⅔ of the way down approx. 4-6 times across the top (depending on the size of the chicken). *see Notes below
Coat the entire surface of the chicken in the harissa paste as thoroughly as possible (rub inside the cuts as well) and transfer onto the baking sheet. Coat the pine nuts in the leftover harissa mixture.
Place slices of halloumi inside the cuts, scatter the pine nuts over each chicken breast and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until fully cooked and the juices run clear.
While the chicken is in the oven make the herb sauce. Place all the ingredients in a small blender and puree. Season to taste.
Remove the chicken from the oven, drizzle over the herb sauce and serve immediately.
*To hasselback the chicken you can place 2 wooden spoons parallel to one another on both sides of the chicken lenghtwise and slice it 4-6 times across the top ⅔ of the way down.
**If your harissa paste is quite thick add a bit of oil to loosen the consistency (harissa paste in a tube tends to be thicker than the jarred variety).
To save time make the herb sauce while the chicken is in the oven. Refrigerate it, covered, until you are ready to serve your hasselback chicken. You can make the sauce up to 2 hours in advance.
There is no need to add any salt to the chicken (both the harissa as well as halloumi are salty), but I recommend seasoning the herb sauce.
Add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the harissa paste for more heat if preferred (this recipe is quite mild).
Best served immediately (the halloumi hardens as it cools so it’s best eaten warm). Serve with rice, couscous or roasted vegetables as well as steamed vegetables and crispy salad.
Freeze the hasselback chicken in an airtight container without the herb sauce. Defrost fully before baking. Make the sauce while the chicken is in the oven.
Cilantro/fresh coriander: Use parsley or thai basil instead.
Pine nuts: Substitute crushed hazelnuts or almonds (blanched).