Saganaki, the divine Greek cheese, and it’s truly delicious! If you’ve never had this dish before, you’re in for one hell of a treat!
I wish I could say that I first ate this dish on a Greek island, with Aegean waves breaking on the shore, and cold Mythos in hand. But, I didn’t. Instead, I first had saganaki at a Melbourne institute when I was about 22yrs old.
Jim’s Greek Tavern, in Collingwood, is as legendary as they come. It’s been a beloved haunt for many a Melbournian for many decades. For me, it’s always held a special significance; it’s where my closest friends would hang out to celebrate, or just catch up.
Of course, fast forward 20 years, and I now make a lot of the Greek food I enjoy, at home. I love to get back to Greece as often as I can, but sometimes the quickest way is to transport my mind and stomach there – with a plateful of saganaki!
The hardest part in making this dish is the cheese. Finding a proper Greek Kefalograviera or Kefalotyri can be a real pain, and I’m sorry, but Halloumi is a pale imitation.
Apart from that, there’s a hot skillet or frying pan to contend with, and of course making sure you have some crusty ψωμί, or homemade bread to enjoy with it. Of course, some tzatziki wouldn’t go astray either!
Oh, and maybe a cold beer, or glass of retsina! Yeah, you’ll want that!
Cheese: Kefalograviera or Kefalotyri are definitely the best cheeses for saganaki. Hands down, no argument or discussion. Halloumi cheese is great, it has it’s place, but it’s not for making saganaki with. Have a good hunt around for either Kefalograviera or Kefalotyri, try online cheese shops if your local supermarket, whole foods, or delicatessen don’t stock it.
Flour: All purpose, plain, regular, whatever name you know if by, it’s the stock-standard flour that you’ll use most in cooking. Don’t use cake or sponge flour, they won’t have enough gluten/protein to give a good crust. Bread flour, or 00, will be a bit too strong, so plain/all purpose is best! This Wholefood Earth flour is a great example of what you need!
Lemon juice: As you’ll know by now, if fresh is out of the question, I recommend Quick Lemon Juice. It’s a great product, lasts a long time in your fridge, and is an affordable option for when fresh lemons are just too expensive to buy.
Oil: Is something that you should have in your pantry at all times. Extra virgin olive oil is the creme de la creme of oils, and I’d recommend Ilada Extra Virgin Olive Oil as a good general use oil.
Skillet or frying pan: if you don’t already have a cast iron skillet, I’d seriously recommend a Lodge skillet. It will come in so handy; frying, roasting, stove top or in the oven. A cast iron frying pan simply is one of the most versatile pieces of kitchen cookware you’ll ever have!
Lifter: A handly little thing, it’ll get your fried eggs off your frying pan, or lift a slice of lasagna out of a baking dish. I’d suggest the Oxo lifter as a good example of what you want in a lifter; flexible but firm, non-scratching, easy to clean, and heat resistant.
Mixing bowl: Yes, I’m recommending them again. Why? Because they’re great bowls, and if you don’t have a set, then you can’t go wrong! VonShef mixing bowls, get them, use them, love them! You’ll thank me later.
Plate: Of course, when it comes to eating your saganaki, you really want to be in the mood. This Nicola Spring 6 place setting just reminds me of a seaside cafe, bouzouki playing in the background, and a warm summer breeze wafting over sun-kissed skin.
Are you ready? It’s saganaki time, and I’m really excited for you to try this recipe out. It’s straight forward; cut the cheese, dredge the cheese, fry the cheese, and eat the cheese.
A word of warning though; just don’t eat too much of it! It’s very rich, and even though the lemon juice cuts through a lot of the heavier hard-cheese body of it, saganaki will leave you feeling full and sated. Too much though, and you’ll feel sick. Learn from my experiences, don’t do it!
- Heavy-duty skillet or frying pan
- Plate to serve
- Bowl for dredging
- 110 g Greek hard cheese Kefalograviera or Kefalotyri are best
- 50 g All purpose Flour for dredging
- 1/2 Lemon to serve
- oil for frying
- Preheat a heavy based frying pan or skillet on a medium-high burner, for 5 mins.
- While the pan is heating, prepare the Saganaki by slicing the cheese approx. 1.5 cm thick, like you would slice bread.
- Dredge the cheese in the flour on all sides. If the flour’s not sticking well, a quick spritz with water will help. Shake off any excess flour. – The flour helps form the crunchy crust, and stops the cheese from sticking to the pan.
- Add some oil to the pan, and when heated, add the cheese carefully.
- Wait approx. 2-3mins before checking if golden, then flip over the saganaki to cook on the other side. Aim for even golden-brown colouring on both sides.
- To serve, take the saganaki from the pan and place on a plate, then quickly squeeze fresh lemon juice over it.
See, what’d I tell you. Saganaki is divine Greek cheese in all itsheavenly glory! Forget the calories, just enjoy the melty-cheesey-ooey-gooey-goodness. If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a comment, follow LarderPantryandGarden on Instagram, Facebook, and of course, on YouTube too!
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