About the Recipe:
This appetizer meze is one that you will find in Greece and in tavernas around the world. In Greece, cheese saganaki will simply be pan-seared and brought to your table. Here in the US, you will also get some showmanship with the waiter lighting up the cheese with either Metaxa (Greek brandy) or Ouzo (anise aperitif). Saganaki refers to the two-handled vessel wherein dishes like this cheese version are served. It is important that you choose the right kind ofcheese. It should be a Greek cheese and it should be a firm cheese – something that will hold-up well to heat.
1 pound slab of cheese, either halloumi, kefalotyri or kasseri, cut 4″ x 4″ and 1/2″ inch thick, trimmed of any rind
4 tablespoons olive oil All-purpose flour for dredging
½ shot glass of Metaxa (brandy) or Ouzo
Wedge of lemon
Crusty bread for serving
Pre-heat a heavy-bottomed skillet (a cast-iron pan works very well) to a medium-high heat.
Place the cheese under running tap water then dredge in all-purpose flour.
Shake off any excess flour.
Add the olive oil to the skillet. When hot, add the cheese to the skillet and sear for a couple of minutes.
Carefully flip the cheese with a spatula and allow to sear for a couple of minutes on the other side until golden brown.
Turn off your heat source and carefully carry the cheese saganaki to the table and, while still very hot, pour the brandy (or Ouzo) over the cheese and ignite with a lighter.
Squeeze a wedge of lemon over the cheese.
Serve immediately with crusty bread and some Ouzo on ice.