Saganaki is a traditional Greek recipe to enjoy pan-fried cheese. You need only 3 ingredients to make this flavorful appetizer. It has a crispy, golden brown crust on the inside and an addicting, melting inside.
To make a perfect saganaki, it's important to pick the right cheese like kefalotyri. Cheese is dredged in flour, seared in butter and cooked in the pan. This Greek recipe is very versatile because you can flambé it or serve it just fried with a lemon wedge.
This saganaki recope is very easy and quick to make, you will end up preparing it almost every time you invite your family and friends for dinner. You may add endless combinations of flavors, herbs, and seasonings to the flour and tweak the recipe to your choice.
Saganaki is a Greek word that refers to appetizers. In fact, this name derives from the Turkish word sahan which means "copper dish", referring to small, heavy bottomed frying pan.
Saganaki recipe is very easy to make, you just have to dredge cheese into flour and pan-fry it until golden brown.
Kefalotyri, kasseri, kefalograviera are perfect to make saganaki as they are medium hardness cheeses with a mild, nutty flavor. You can also try to use halloumi, but it doesn't melt very well.
If you can't find a Greek cheese, you can use a soft yet firm cheese that hold its shape and has a stringy center once cooked. A good option can be Monterey Jack, provolone or young Pecorino.
Saganaki is sometimes served flambé, especially in Greek American restaurants. This technique was invented by the owner of Parthenon restaurant in Greektown in Chicago in the late 1960s. Although the traditional Greek recipes tends not to flambé it, it's up to you.
If you want to flambé your cheese saganaki, pour a bit of Greek brandy called metaxa, or ouzo on the cheese. Next, ignite with a lighter and squeeze the lemon over the saganaki before serving. Don't forget to yell "OPA" at the end, a way to express surprise and admiration.
You may coat the cheese slices in equal quantities of bread crumbs instead of flour as well. For bread crumbs you must dip the cheese slices in a beaten egg once before you coat the cheese with crumbs of bread.
Sprinkle a pinch of paprika and black pepper powder to add a bit of spice to the cheesy saganaki.
Add the olive oil to the pan one tablespoon a time instead of pouring the entire oil to the pan at one go.
Shake off the excess flour from the flour and herb coated cheese slices.
It's best to enjoy saganaki right away.
Dip the cheese slice in cold water, then in flour. Remove the excess.
Heat oil in a small pan under medium heat. When hot, fry the cheese for about 2 minutes per side or until the crust is golden brown.
Remove the saganaki from the pan, squeeze with lemon juice. Serve and enjoy!