The Art of Real Greek Saganaki
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In Greece, frying up a batch of saganaki, or fried cheese, is a real art. The perfect batch consists of cubes or thick slices of cheese that have been fried perfectly so that every side of the cube has a golden, crispy crust while the inside remains soft and melted. Restaurants located outside of Greece often have the wrong idea of what saganaki really is. They think that by melting some Greek cheese and serving it on a plate that they have created the real thing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Preparing saganaki the right way is a true art, but it is one that can be mastered with a little know-how. Here’s some more information on how to prepare saganaki the right way:
Choose the Correct Cheese
There’s isn’t any one type of cheese that will make a great batch of saganaki. However, in order for the dish to turn out well, it is still important to be a little picky. The perfect cheese will be sturdy enough to develop that golden, outer crust while also gentle enough to allow the warm, melted center to develop. There are a few Greek cheeses that will create the perfect saganaki and those who have mastered the technique will surely have their favorite choices! Typical cheese that are used include graviera, kefalograviera, halloumi, kasseri, kefalotiri, and even feta cheese that has been made from sheep’s milk.
Melt the Cheese in a Small Frying Pan
The name, saganaki, is actually derived from the word that is used to describe the small frying pan that is used to make the dish. This indicates that choosing the right pan to use could be just as important to the process as selecting the right cheese! Nonstick-style pots won’t get the job done because it is very difficult to get the edges to brown while using this style. It is best to invest in a proper saganaki pan if you plan to make it a habit to make this dish at home.
Enjoy the Different Versions of Saganaki
There are two types of saganaki that are generally made – a savory version and a sweet one. Savory saganaki is typically served as part of a meze spread. After the cheese is plated, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of Greek oregano is usually added to enhance the flavor. Sweet saganaki is typically made with either manouri or halloumi cheese and is served as a dessert.
Another version of the dish, referred to as “Flaming Saganaki”, was originally developed at the Parthenon Greek Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. This dish is created table side and consists of flooding the pan with a Greek spirit such as Ouzo and setting fire to it using a torch. While this makes for a fun table side presentation, it isn’t actually traditional saganaki. However, the trend caught on and people from all over the world began to making saganaki in this way.
It is worth your while to embrace the real art of making saganaki by learning how to do it the right way. The truth is, traditional saganaki is flavorful and makes a nice addition to any meze spread!
Categorized in: Greek Cooking
This post was written by Greek Boston