Saganaki | FoodByMaria Recipes

Greek

Greek Saganaki Recipe

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Prep

5 minutes

Cook

5 minutes

Yield

2

This Greek saganaki recipe is a traditional Greek appetizer comprised of a cheese that is lit on fire, in turn giving it a crispy outside.

This saganaki recipe is so dang good. Saganaki is made with a Greek cheese called graviera and is prepared in a small frying pan and is commonly flambéed/lit on fire to get a delicious crust on the outside.

Why you’ll love saganaki:

  • Quick: Make this recipe in only 10-minutes
  • Delicious: This cheese is so dang good. Drizzle it with honey and fresh thyme for added flavor
  • Greek: This is just one of my many classic, Greek dishes that you’ll love to bring into your home
Saganaki on a serving dish with a fork and knife cutting it

Ingredient Notes:

Graviera: This cheese is produced in Greece, primarily in Crete, Lesbos, Naxos, and Amfilochia. It resembles gruyere, which is a Swiss cheese, and is very popular in Greece (next to feta).

Brandy or Bourbon: Adding booze into this is what helps light the fire (literally) and create that flambéed effect.

How to make saganaki:

  1. Brush each side of the cheese slice with water or run quickly under water. Then, dredge in the flour, shaking off excess flour.
  2. Place cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot and then turn the heat to medium. Pour in the olive oil.
  3. Add cheese to the hot pan and cook until the cheese just begins to melt and a golden brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. Quickly flip the cheese and cook another 1-2 minutes until golden brown on the other side.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat immediately and place on a wooden cutting board. 
  5. You can skip this next step if you’d like and go right for adding garnish. Make sure you have alot of space above the pan as the flame can get quite high. Pour the bourbon or brandy over the cheese in the skillet and then light the bourbon using a long lighter so you can stand as far away from the pan for safety. Squeeze some lemon juice over top after the flames extinguish (you can gently blow on the flame to help it extinguish).
  6. Serve cheese in the pan or on a plate, drizzled with honey and fresh thyme if desired.
Saganaki on a serving dish with a fork and knife cutting it

FAQ & Expert Tips:

What kind of cheese is saganaki made of? It is made with graviera cheese which is largely produced in different regions of Greece.

Is saganaki different to halloumi? Similar to halloumi, saganaki fries well and keeps its shape. Halloumi goes a little darker when fried, and is more squeaky when you chew it but similar.

Is saganaki authentic Greek? Absolutely! It is a traditional starter of Greek cuisine.

What does saganaki taste like? Cheese is mild but the burnt-off alcohol offers a vinegar flavor. Eat it hot and it’s gooey, and delicious.

Other Greek recipes you’ll love:

Greek Saganaki Recipe

5 from 2 votes
This Greek saganaki recipe is a traditional Greek appetizer comprised of a cheese that is lit on fire, in turn giving it a crispy outside.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Greek
Servings 2
Calories 488 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 4-6 oz piece Graviera cheese, about ½ to ¾ inch thickness and 4 inches in width
  • water
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp brandy or bourbon
  • 1/2 lemon
  • liquid honey and fresh thyme for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Brush each side of the cheese slice with water or run quickly under water. Then, dredge in the flour, shaking off excess flour.
  • Place cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot and then turn the heat to medium. Pour in the olive oil.
  • Add cheese to the hot pan and cook until the cheese just begins to melt and a golden brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. Quickly flip the cheese and cook another 1-2 minutes until golden brown on the other side.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat immediately and place on a wooden cutting board. You can skip this next step if you'd like and go right for adding garnish.
    Make sure you have alot of space above the pan as the flame can get quite high. Pour the bourbon or brandy over the cheese in the skillet and then light the bourbon using a long lighter so you can stand as far away from the pan for safety. Squeeze some lemon juice over top after the flames extinguish (you can gently blow on the flame to help it extinguish).
  • Serve cheese in the pan or on a plate, drizzled with honey and fresh thyme if desired.

Video

Notes

  • If you can’t find Graviera cheese, here are a couple of other alternatives you can try: kasseri, halloumi, manchego or even paneer.

Nutrition

Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.4g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 30.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12.1g | Cholesterol: 78.1mg | Sodium: 508.1mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 1.8g
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