Saganaki (Greek Fried Cheese)

A traditional Greek recipe for saganaki, fried cheese that is crispy on the outside and melty on the inside. Perfect for an aperitif or starter, this dish is simple to prepare and absolutely delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Aperitif, Starter
Cuisine Ελληνικά
Servings 4 people
Calories 250 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 poêle
  • 1 spatule
  • 1 assiette
  • Papier absorbant

Ingredients
  

  • 200 gr cheese kefalotyri, graviera, halloumi or kasseri
  • 50 gr flour
  • 3 T to s. olive oil extra virgin
  • black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the cheese: Cut the cheese into thick slices of approximately 1 cm. Make sure they are uniform in size for even cooking.
  • Coat in flour: Dredge the cheese slices in the flour, making sure they are well coated on all sides. Shake lightly to remove excess flour.
  • Heat the oil: Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. The oil should be hot but not smoking.
  • Fry the cheese: Add the flour-coated cheese slices to the pan. Fry them until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Drain: Remove the cheese slices from the pan and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Serve: Serve immediately, accompanied by lemon wedges to squeeze over the cheese and a pinch of ground black pepper.

Nutrition

Serving: 75grCalories: 250kcal
Keyword aperitif, fried cheese, Greek cuisine, Saganaki, starter
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Saganaki (Greek Fried Cheese)

Saganaki is one of the most iconic and popular Greek dishes. This fried cheese, crispy on the outside and melting on the inside, is a staple of Greek taverns. Simple to prepare and absolutely delicious, it is perfect for an aperitif or starter.

Essential Ingredients

Saganaki is traditionally made with hard Greek cheese, such as kefalotyri or graviera. These cheeses, with their firm texture and salty taste, are ideal for frying. You can also use halloumi or kasseri for an equally tasty variation. The cheese is usually coated in flour before being fried in olive oil, which creates a crispy golden crust.

Preparing Saganaki

Preparing saganaki is quick and easy, making it an ideal option for an impromptu meal. The cheese is sliced ​​into thick pieces, coated in flour, then fried over medium heat in a pan with hot olive oil. The key to success lies in the temperature of the oil: it must be hot enough to sear the cheese without burning it. The cheese is fried until it is golden and crispy on the outside, while remaining soft on the inside. It is then served immediately, often with a squeeze of lemon juice to enhance the flavors.

Nutritional Contributions of Saganaki

Saganaki, while high in calories and fat, is also a good source of protein and calcium, thanks to the cheese. As with any fried dish, it is best consumed in moderation. Saganaki is often accompanied by fresh vegetables or a salad, which helps create a balanced meal. Using olive oil for frying also benefits from health-promoting monounsaturated fatty acids.

Tasting and Accompaniment

Saganaki is usually served as a starter or appetizer. It’s delicious on its own, but it can also be served with warm pita bread, fresh tomatoes, lemon and herbs like oregano or thyme. In Greek taverns it is often presented with other mezzes such as tzatziki, dolmades and olives. A glass of dry white wine or ouzo complements this dish perfectly.

Regional Variants

In Greece, saganaki may vary slightly depending on the region. For example, in some islands it is common to add a touch of honey to fried cheese, creating a delicious contrast between salty and sweet. In other regions, one can find variations using different types of cheese or alternative coatings, such as semolina or breadcrumbs, for an even crispier texture.

Conservation Tips

Saganaki is best when freshly made and served hot. However, if you have leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a day or two. To reheat saganaki, it is recommended to do it in a pan rather than in the microwave, in order to preserve its crispy texture.

Culinary Experience in Greece

Tasting saganaki in Greece is an unforgettable experience. Whether in a quaint taverna by the Aegean Sea or a bustling restaurant in Athens, saganaki is a must-try. Served with a glass of ouzo and a breathtaking view, it embodies the warm and friendly spirit of Greek cuisine.

Saganaki and Greek Culture

Saganaki, with its simplicity and irresistible taste, is a perfect example of traditional Greek cuisine. It illustrates the importance of local, quality ingredients, and the ability of Greek cuisine to transform simple foods into delicious dishes. Preparing and sharing saganaki is a way of celebrating Greek culinary culture, which values ​​conviviality, sharing and the pleasure of eating together.

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