Authentic Greek Fried Cheese, Saganaki or Feta, tasty appetizer: crunchy on the outside with honey and sesame seeds
Saganaki, The Greek Fried Cheese You Have To Stop Sleeping On
By Elias Nash
Many cultures worldwide enjoy some variety of fried cheese, including mozzarella sticks and cheese curds in the U.S., fried camembert in Germany, paneer in India, halloumi in Cyprus, and goat's milk cheese called rubing in China. However, for pure fried cheese deliciousness, it's hard to beat Greece's saganaki.
Although the best-known version usually features some kind of fried cheese, the dish does not need to include it, and saganaki actually refers to the cookware (a small, double-handled pan). Fried cheese saganaki starts with a block of flour-coated, pan-fried cheese that forms a crispy brown crust and is typically served with pita bread, but some restaurants may top it with honey and nuts.
While saganaki can be made from different kinds of cheese, popular choices include kefalotyri, kefalograviera, and kasseri, which are made from sheep's milk and sometimes mixed with goat milk. Kefalotyri is salty and tangy with a short aging period, but kefalograviera usually ages a bit longer with a firmer texture and tiny holes. Kasseri is a bit of an outlier with its melty texture akin to provolone or mozzarella.
A Greek restaurant in the U.S. might serve saganaki by topping it with brandy or Greece's national drink, ouzo, and setting it on fire before dousing the flame with lemon juice. However, this tradition isn't authentically Greek, as it began at The Parthenon in Chicago's Greektown, which closed in 2016; however, its tradition of flambéing saganaki lives on.