Saganaki (Greek Fried Cheese)
Saganaki, in its most popular variation, mostly found in Greek restaurants all over the world, is pan-fried hard cheese. The pan is the point – the word saganaki actually refers to a shallow two-handled frying pan with rounded edges that was part of the kitchen panoply of every Greek home cook in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). There are a lot of other Greek recipes for saganaki out there, too, such as shrimp saganaki.
- 4, ¼- inch thick slices or wedges of Greek kefalotyri cheese or other hard sharp cheese, such as pecorino
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or more, as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges
- 1 - 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley or fresh or dried thyme for garnish
Depending on the shape of the cheese (wheel or block) cut cheese into triangular or square wedges about ½-inch (1 ¼ cm) thick.
Have a shallow bowl of water nearby, the flour spread onto a plate or into a second shallow bowl, and the egg lightly beaten in a third bowl. Season the flour with pepper.
Heat extra-virgin Greek olive oil and butter in a nonstick skillet.
Dip the cheese pieces one at a time into the water, then into the flour, dredging on both sides, then into the egg, and back into the flour. Gently place in the hot pan and fry over medium heat on one side until it’s golden. Using kitchen tongs or a spatula, flip the cheese over to fry on the other side. Remove, repeat with remaining pieces, and serve hot, with lemon wedges, garnished with a sprinkling of either the parsley or thyme.