Cheese Saganaki is a loved appetizer/meze, that never fails to satisfy the palette! Saganaki is actually the name of the small two handled skillet that several Greek dishes are cooked in, like shrimp saganaki and mussel saganaki. Cheese Saganaki or “Flaming Cheese” is the most famous of the saganaki dishes in North America, with the theatrical restaurant display of the waiter/waitress pouring brandy on the cheese and flambéing it table side, while yelling OPA! The cheese is then extinguished by squeezing lemon juice over top of it and served hot and bubbly. This was created by the Liakouras brothers of The Parthenon Restaurant in Chicago, Il. The traditional Greek way of preparing cheese saganaki is by simply dredging a slab of cheese in flour, and frying it in a saganaki skillet until golden on both sides and finishing it with a squeeze of lemon juice. Popular cheese options include: Kefalograviera, Kasseri, Kefalotyri, Graviera or Halloumi.
Although I love the traditional style of Cheese Saganaki, I decided to experiment with the exterior texture by dredging the cheese in crushed walnuts instead of flour before frying. It was a big hit at my house! The crunchy exterior combined with the warm gooey centre is phenomenal!
- 1 slice of cheese (4″x4″ and 1/2″ thick) brushed with olive oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
- 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
- quarter of one lemon
Heat olive oil in small skillet over medium- high heat. Place the oiled slab of cheese in a bowl of crushed walnuts and dredge the cheese firmly on both sides. Fry until golden brown, flipping once. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve. OPA!