Flaming Greek Cheese (Saganaki)

Ingredients

  • 1 (4 ounce) package kasseri cheese
  • 1 tablespoon water, or as needed
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, at room temperature
  • ½lemon, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Brush each side of the kasseri cheese with water. Dredge both sides in flour, making sure the surface is completely covered.

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  • Step 2

    Preheat a well seasoned cast iron skillet on medium-high heat until smoking. Pour in olive oil. Carefully place the floured cheese in the hot oil. Cook until cheese begins to ooze and a golden brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. Quickly flip cheese over with a spatula. Fry until bottom is golden brown, about 30 seconds more.

  • Step 3

    Remove skillet from heat and transfer onto a napkin-lined plate. Pour brandy over the cheese. Light the brandy using a fireplace lighter. Now you can exclaim “Opa!” and marvel at the fire. Squeeze some lemon juice on top to extinguish the last few flames and garnish with parsley.

  • Chef's Notes:

    I’ve also done this with a cheese called halloumi, which is tasty, but doesn’t melt at all, and for me that’s the best part. You can also use graviera, kefalograviera, kefalotyri, or even a firm feta cheese.

    Any high-proof liquor will work.

    Garnish with oregano if you prefer.

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