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Mar 19, 2008 06:09 PM

Flaming cheese?

A friend asked me to find her a recipe for a Greek dish called flaming cheese? What is it?

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    1. re: aelph

      Saganaki is exactly what you're looking for. Usually it's not much more than Kasseri cheese flamed and then doused with lemon juice.

      1. re: rockandroller1

        They serve it at a Greek restaurant in Narragansett, RI, Estea, it is awesome but very rich and can spoil the entree. I would recommend it as a snack but not an app. They actually just started selling the cheese at our local Stop and Shop.

        1. re: rockandroller1

          The recipe left out the "OPA!"

          After you set the cheese on fire, yell "OPA!" then extinguish the flame. Serve with a good bread, Greek (not pita) if you can find it, otherwise Italian or French. It is delicious.

          1. re: coney with everything

            One thing that no one has pointed out is the fact that the cheese won't actually ignite if it is cold or on a cold ceramic plate. I spent the better part of an hour trying to get my Saganaki to catch flame. I put the Kasseri on the plate and soaked it in the best Greek brandy I could find. I set the match to the plate and-- nothing. (I was thinking "OPA" when I did this, but apparently that wasn't what was coming out of my mouth). Went through an entire box of matches (and the entire bottle of Greek brandy - hic) before I called my friend at the restaurant who told me that they usually put the cheese on a pre-heated METAL platter to vaporize the brandy.
            Εδω ειναι υπεροχο να ΤΡΟΦΙΜΑ!

            1. re: wifelikeobject

              Saganaki, which apparently originated in Chicago, is served here with the cheese hot and soft. There are a bunch of variations among restaurants, but the common theme is a slab of cheese floured and sauteed until the cheese is heated through with a lightly browned crust. Then the cheese is placed on a hot metal platter for the trip to the dining room. The waiter pours the brandy and ignites it, usually saying opaa. The flames are quenched by squeezing a lemon chunk over the dish. One portion easily serves four people in conjunction with other appetizers.

              Some strange things have happened as the recipe traveled. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, indeed, as suggested in a recipe linked upthread.

        2. This is a standard at every greek restaurant in Toronto. Cheese flambeed in Greek brandy, and then doused with lemon juice. It's our usual appetizer at any of the many Greek places we go to; don't understand the poster who said it's too rich. We're a family of four, and we always manage to finish it, and our mains. And in Toronto, most Greek spots offer rice, potatoes, and bread with the main dish, along with some vegetables, so it's a pretty substantial meal. And the production values - the flaming table side, the waiter shouting "OPA", and the lemon juice shower - well, it's nice theatre, and isn't that a part of dining out?

          5 Replies
          1. re: KevinB

            but notoriously, American servings are much bigger than Canadian ones, so maybe its the serving size that makes it unapproachable

            1. re: beany

              I agree! I grew up in Chicago, and have been to the finest greek joints who supposedly created the dish. The Greek Islands and the Parenthon were fantastic. I don't know about spoiling one's meal, as I used to order the appetizer as my meal! My appetite was a tad heartier when I was 10!

              I've made it at home with Kasseri, Brandy, and lots of lemon. It was a fair representation! Whatever you do, don't use feta or halloumi. That is just sacreligious! It must be kasseri or if you insist, kefolagraviera.

              1. re: Kam7185

                Don't have anything to add to anyone else's post really- just wondered if you'd tried kashkaval?

            2. re: KevinB

              Unfortunately I have severe reflux and othe GI issues, so when I said rich I should have specified "heavy". I love this dish but it sits in my stomach like lead and interferes with my main course. I love it though...

              1. re: Sean

                Yeah any dish made from melted sheep's milk cheese (which Kasseri is) is going to be very very greasy (sheep cheese is usually higher in butterfat than cow so the cheeses tend to be oiler) that being said I will admit that I am not a big fan of this dish. In my opinion if it is made with poor quality kasseri it doesnt improve the flavor and if you make it with good qulity kasseri it isn't as tasty as the kasseri would have been if you ate it cold. if I want a hot greek cheese appertizer I'll go with grilled haloumi every time or see if they have tyropitakia on the menu.