Saganaki is a Greek or Greek-American dish consisting of a hard, white, brined cheese cooked simply with olive oil in a hot pan (traditionally a two-handed vessel whence the name of the dish), usually served with lemon. In American restaurants, it is sometimes flambeed with various liquers at the table. In Greece, it is a traditional dish to have both with liquor (as a meze) or at the beginning of the meal to whet the appetite.
- One large slice of salty, brined white cheese. The best to use, and traditional, are feta, kefalograviera, kasseri, or kefalotyri
- One tablespoon of olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil!)
- One large lemon wedge
- A small amount of flour (optional)
- Pita or other bread (optional)
- Heat a frying pan – smaller is better – to medium-high heat.
- While the pan heats, cut the cheese into slices of the desired size and thickness. Thicker slices will take longer to melt through and may result in burning, while thinner ones will have less chance to brown.
- Optionally, dredge the slices in flour – this will create a darker and slightly crispier crust, but is an optional step as the cheese will acquire a very slight crust on its own by virtue of the oil and high heat. It will also reduce the spitting somewhat.
- Add the oil to the pan and swirl it around. When the oil shimmers and seems to become more fluid, it is ready. Add the cheese and step back – it will spit due to the brine-water on the cheese.
- Flip the cheese after a minute or two. A slice of 3/4 centimeter should get about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Serve immediately, with lemon and (optionally) bread.