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Nov 7, 2007 08:28 AM

Saganaki at home?


I am planning a Greek Feast this Saturday night. I would LOVE to have some saganaki. Can someone please tell me what kind of cheeses are best for this and what the process is for doing it. I've only had it at a restaurant; it's so much fun!


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  1. you can use kasseri or kefalograviera, and I believe you have to dredge the cheese in flour or cornstarch and then fry it in clarified butter. I just read a recipe for it in the Gourmet Garage cookbook; sadly, I don't have it with me right now otherwise I'd paraphrase. what else are you serving?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sophia.

      We're having Pork and Chicken Souvlaki, Spanakopita, green lentil salad, and various olives and dips; including my homemade baba ganoush. I'm asking everyone to bring a bottle greek wine, and I'm sure they will bring more Greek yummy things to eat. I haven't thought about any dessert yet...I'm not too big on sweets. Any ideas there would be good too.

      1. re: Lemonii

        if you're not big on sweets, I would do a thick strained yogurt with honey and walnuts or sour cherry preserves, something like that. your menu sounds fantastic! and if you drink enough Retsina, no one will be able to tell what kind of cheese is under your saganaki.

    2. I use the kasseri cheese and dredge in flour and then cook in a hot cast iron frying pan with a very little amount of oil. You can also dip in egg wash before flour for a thicker crust and better flour adhesion.
      Take it to the table and carefully pour in about 1/2 an ounce of ouzo or an ounce if you're brave and have high ceilings.

      Don't forget to yell "Opa".

      Douse the fire with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy while it is still warm.

      It's a showstopper, lots of fun but be careful with the amount of ouzo and use a long match or kitchen stove lighter.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Mila

        I'm calling around, and haven't had any luck yet. What if I can't find Kasseri cheese? Can anyone give me a couple of other options?

        1. re: Lemonii

          Is there a "greek" neighbourhood where you live? There should be a deli or grocer who sells Kasseri... In my neighbourhood I'd go to the local fine cheese shop or upscale market.

          1. re: Lemonii

            I'm lucky to live in the Greek area of Toronto so it is easily accessible.

            But barring a greek food store you could use:
            Hallomi - which is delicous but much saltier
            Mozzerella - which is blander and you would need to add S & P
            Fontina - has a nice melting quality but might be too Italian flavoured
            Feta - I saw this recommended in some recipes but I think it would just fall apart

            My first choice would be Hallomi and the second choice would be Mozzerella. If you use Mozzerella you could soak it for a few hours in the ouzo to liven up the flavours.

            1. re: Mila

              Thanks everyone! I ended having to use Hallomi, it's all I could find on short notice. It was great!!! The whole feast was great actually!

              1. re: Lemonii

                Yeah ! Excellent flames Lemonii. Glad everything worked out.

        2. I vastly prefer kefalotiri to kasseri as the cheese, probably because that's how I first had it. Kefalotiri is firmer and drier (more like parmesan) and doesn't need to be breaded. I dislike having breading on the cheese; again, probably because the first places I had it didn't bread it, so I was shocked & dismayed the first time I was served a breaded version.

          Btw, the flambé bit is strictly an American restaurant innovation, or so I'm told. Traditionally, you just squeeze some lemon on it at the end.

          1. It's one of the simplest aps to make. Kessari (or kefalotiri) cheese fried in hot olive oil undrer the broiler, then finish with some lemon juice and oregano. Works well with a toaster oven too, but the broiler would be better. I think the lemon and oregano at the end are crucial for taste. I never experienced the ouzo flambe part.