Considering how delicious it is, saganaki is a surprisingly simple Greek recipe, at least in its basic form. There are many variations out there, but the simple cheese version is immensely popular. Saganaki is written as σαγανάκι in Greek and pronounced sah-ghah-NAH-kee.
The recipe takes its name from the pan in which it’s made: the sagani, a two-handled pan made of many different materials. If you don’t have or can’t find a sagani, you can use a small paella pan, a small cast-iron skillet, or even an oval au gratin dish.
Serve saganaki as an appetizer, hors-d’oeuvres, or as part of a meal made up of a variety of mezethes or appetizers. Saganaki goes well with ouzo or wine, olives, vegetable mezethes, tomatoes, and crusty bread.
- 1 pound firm cheese, preferably graviera cheese
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 to 3 lemons, quartered
Step 1: Cut the cheese into slices or wedges 1/2-inch thick by 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Each slice must be thick enough that it doesn’t melt during cooking.
Step 2: Moisten each slice with cold water and dredge it in the flour. Shake off any excess flour.
Step 3: Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a sagani or small heavy-bottomed frying pan. Cast iron works best.
Step 4: Sear each cheese slice in the heated oil until it’s golden brown, flipping the slice midway through to brown both sides evenly.