24 Jul2008

saganaki1

We had never tried saganaki before this meal at a neighborhood taverna in Athens. And the version that arrived at our table was crisp, firm and yet yielding inside, without dark frying spots. I suspected it might even have been baked rather than fried… but the simplicity of the dish and the incredible impact on the taste buds made it truly memorable. I vowed to attempt it once we were back home. And in another of brilliant Greek trip related coincidences, my sister who lives in New York City called to say she was coming to Manila for a short visit, and did I want anything from her favorite Greek food store, Titan. I immediately requested some Greek olive oil, and if she could manage some cheese for saganaki. In Athens, they use either kasseri, halloumi or Feta cheese for this dish. And this is definitely about the cheese…

saganaki2

Slice the cheese into about 1/3 inch thick pieces. Heat up a frying pan, add a little olive oil and when the oil is hot, add the pieces of cheese after rinsing them in water, shaking off the excess and dusting the pieces of cheese with sifted all purpose flour. Fry for just a minute or two on each side until colored and remove. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and serve with a wedge or two of lemon. It was absolutely delicious. Tasted just like a salty fried cheese to start, but when you sprinkled lemon juice liberally over the saganaki, it transformed from the expected to the unexpectedly good… Something about the alchemy of tart lemon with the salty cheese and the slight texture and flavor of sesame really makes this an instant favorite. In the second photo above, I tried the same method without the flour and the sesame seeds. It was also good, but I liked the first one better. Have lots of good bread around as you will definitely eat more of this than you had planned. Now I want to see if this will work with white cheese and a touch of dayap… Yum!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Myra P. says:

    MM, Im not greek but the saganakis Ive had were always baked. Agree that the lemon juice takes it to a stratospheric level of deliciousness.

    Jul 24, 2008 | 10:29 pm

     
  2. joey says:

    This is yummy! I’ve done this fried and everyone loved it…I’ve also done it wrapped in vine leaves (with a sliver of garlic and a bit of oregano inside) and baked, also good :)

    Jul 24, 2008 | 10:38 pm

     
  3. molly says:

    this is great! i have never tried it with a slice of lemon or with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. what we eat often is fried keseyo(firm kesong puti) from cebu that we dip either in egg or in flour before frying. looks exactly like those in your pics. we eat that with garlic rice as breakfast. pagkalami jud! :-)

    Jul 24, 2008 | 10:41 pm

     
  4. sister says:

    Check out yesterday’s New York Times Dining section for an article on fried milk. I’ve had the Halloumi quickly grilled and that was good, too.

    Jul 24, 2008 | 11:30 pm

     
  5. Apicio says:

    I do not know why I find this Greek idea appealing given that I stubbornly resisted fried Brie in the eighties and am firmly resolved not to be involved at all if confronted with fried Mars bar or steak fried chicken. Could it be that it has the same primal appeal as age dashi dofu for which I have an unreserved admiration and which I am determined to try any version of that I come across no matter where in the world? What’s not to like, sesame seeds and a Japanese sounding name too.

    Jul 24, 2008 | 11:47 pm

     
  6. betty q. says:

    I am having a SILLY LOLO and MARIA CLARA WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME BIIIIIIIIGGGG TIME!!!!!
    …..where are you?….I misss reading your comments!!!!

    Hey, Silly Lolo….you are going to miss the Chinooks or the King Salmon…they are here!!!!…we still have to do the Indian Candy…

    Jul 25, 2008 | 12:49 am

     
  7. alilay says:

    will try this today i have leftover feta cheese from the orzo salad i made for my hubby’s lunch.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 2:58 am

     
  8. natie says:

    fried cheese! sounds like a ”home run”…a treat for the taste buds!

    Jul 25, 2008 | 5:20 am

     
  9. Susan says:

    MM, in the first picture what are those 3 slices? Some kind of bread? If it is please share a recipe. Also please tell me where the Salcedo Market is. Thanks!

    Jul 25, 2008 | 5:52 am

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Susan, those are just toasted pita triangles. Salcedo Market is at the Salcedo Village are of the the business district of Makati. The Market is near the Salcedo 1 condominium. And they carry pita bread at that market. bettyQ and others, Maria Clara is on leave from her office for a few months to volunteer for the U.S. presidential campaign as a campaigner, so she has no internet access from home and only occasionally checks in until the end of the year… Silly Lolo is AWOL… :) Apicio, this is similar to fried quesong puti, though the greek version is drier. Gosh, Mrs. MM is an agedashi dofu lover too… Sister, hmmm, I should try grilled as well. Joey and Myra, hmm, as suspected baked is a likely alternative… the one I had in Greece did not look like it was fried in oil, more like it was melted until it developed a crust.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 6:04 am

     
  11. Cecile J says:

    Silly Lolo, hope you are fine. We miss your naughty comments. Pati si Lee, tahimik ngayon….

    Jul 25, 2008 | 8:57 am

     
  12. Lee says:

    Lee is silent because the only cheese he has is the locally made one in a blue box with the name of a garden of ancient times.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 9:58 am

     
  13. alicia says:

    Yum! fried cheese, ho bad can that be?!!! I have bought Haloumi from Santis a few times so when Sister’s supply of cheese runs out, you can buy some there too. I have some carabao kesong puti from Mr. Moo’s , will have to try this procedure with it.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 10:14 am

     
  14. Cecile J says:

    Lee! Ako din meron nun! Cheese of choice at Chez Cecile.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 10:49 am

     
  15. connie says:

    The adding of sesame seeds is very inspired. Between lemon and lime, I do prefer lime anytime on my fried cheese. I will be one of them picky eaters in a restaurant asking for limes if my fried cheese were served with lemons.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 11:35 am

     
  16. Marketman says:

    connie, in Athens, ours came with a green citrus, which at first I assumed to be a lime. But when you squeezed it and tasted the juice, it was a green lemon, not a lime. I can see how this would be brilliant with a dayap, closer to a western lime, but it did work well with a yellow lemon as well…

    Jul 25, 2008 | 11:39 am

     
  17. connie says:

    The first time I’ve tried fried cheese with lime, it was with a group of co-workers, one of the guys squeezed lime on his fried cheese. We all thought that was weird, before hand I’ve only tried lemon, but did I like it much, much better than the ketchup and mayonnaise the other girl whipped up anyway. *laughs*
    Now that I think about it, I think I’m just your lime kind of girl. Like I prefer lime slices in my water, limeade instead of lemonade, lime on my calamaris, key lime pie than lemon pie. LOL.
    I didn’t even think about dayap, the flavor would definitely be intense. Yummm.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 1:25 pm

     
  18. corrine says:

    My haloumi cheese has been waiting. Thanks for the recipe. I love kesong puti. The one sold in Magallanes is very good fried in an itsy bitsy olive oil.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 10:29 pm

     
  19. alilay says:

    i fried feta cheese for my breakfast today and it sure is delish tagal ko ng nag-crave ng kesong puti na fried just until melted eto lang palathanks mr.MM i also have a pot of adobo spare ribs so no cooking for me this weekend

    Jul 26, 2008 | 2:53 am

     
  20. Apicio says:

    I trust that Maria Clara is campaigning for Obama and if she’s not she better not let me know or I shall never talk to her ever again though I can tolerate Silly Lolo campaigning for McLolo.

    Jul 26, 2008 | 10:11 am

     
  21. Mangaranon says:

    Fried halloumi cheese is definitely my favorite!!!!! Of course, I also like raclette.

    Jul 27, 2008 | 7:14 am

     
  22. Katrina says:

    It’s a good thing I’m having some toasted cheese on toast right now, or I’d die of envy! As it is, your post only made me sick with envy. ;-) Mati used to serve saganaki, too bad it has closed. Cyma has a flaming saganaki that’s quite yummy, though not truly authentic. The waitstaff shout “Opa!” when they serve it. It’s an annoying gimmick, but I’ll tolerate it for the cheese’s sake.

    Jul 27, 2008 | 8:05 pm

     
  23. gazza says:

    LOL, used to grill halloumi over an open camp fire at Cyprus Scouts. Phenomenal :)

    Aug 30, 2009 | 3:06 pm

     
 

Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2017