In Greek: σαγανάκι (pronounced sah-ghah-NAH-kee)
Saganaki dishes take their name from the pan in which they are made. A sagani is a two-handled pan that is made in many different materials. In the market, look for a small paella pan, small cast iron skillet, or even an oval au gratin dish.
Serve this as an appetizer, as an hors d'oeuvre, or as part of a meal made up of a varied selection of mezethes. The key to success with this dish is to get the oil hot (before it starts to smoke) before frying.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 1 pound (about 1/2 kg) of kefalotyri or kasseri cheese (or pecorino romano)
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 2/3 cup of flour for dredging
- 2-3 lemons, quartered
Cut the cheese into slices or wedges that are 1/2 inch thick by 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Moisten each slice with cold water and dredge in the flour. In a sagani (Greek pan used for this dish) or a small heavy-bottomed frying pan (cast-iron works best), heat the oil over medium-high heat, and sear each slice in 1 tablespoon of oil until golden-brown on both sides. Serve hot with a last-minute squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Serve with ouzo or wine, olives, vegetable mezethes, tomatoes, and crusty bread.
Yield: 6 servings
- If desired, the cheese can be dipped into beaten egg (after the flour).
- If you enjoy a little pepper, add some fresh ground black pepper to the flour before dredging the cheese.