I can still remember the first time I tasted cheese saganaki (pan-seared Greek cheese). Having finished university, my then boyfriend and I were spending the summer travelling round Europe before moving from Vancouver to Toronto so he could start a law degree.
Woefully misled by a guidebook called something like Europe on $10 a Day, we’d spent a lot of nights sleeping rough or on overnight trains, and buying cheap food in markets and bakeries to make our money go further. Greece was the first country we could actually afford to eat out.
Arriving in Napflion, we rented a glorified garden shed from an entrepreneurial Greek grandmother, dumped our oversized backpacks and headed out to explore. At a promising taverna on the seafront, we ordered up a feast – a jug of retsina, olives, Greek salad, kalamari, tzatiki, stuffed peppers and saganaki.
No doubt the beautiful setting and weeks of park bench picnics played their part, but that saganaki was about the best thing I’d ever tasted.
Saganaki is dead simple to make. The main thing is to choose a cheese that can take the heat. Graviera, kefalotyri or kasseri are all good if you can find them, and halloumi works well too.
- 200g block of cheese
- 3 Tb flour
- olive oil, for frying
- lemon wedges, to serve
- Slice the cheese into 1cm-thick pieces. Rinse the cheese slices under the tap, then dredge in flour.
- Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Arrange the cheese slices in the pan. Fry for a few minutes each side, until they form a lovely golden crust.