Welcome to this month’s Let’s Lunch! I’m sure you hardly need to guess what this month’s theme is; is anyone capable of thinking about anything today but the arrival of the Winter Olympics? Naturally, being as obsessed with Greek food as I am, the Olympic theme immediately suggested Greece to me, but a brilliant friend did me one better by pointing out that the lighting of the torch cries out for things that are on fire. (I swear I am not a pyromaniac, but is flaming food not more festive? Come on.)
Having spent my childhood making regular pilgrimages to Greektown for dinner, saganaki (pan-fried cheese) immediately sprang to mind. We ordered saganaki every time we went, and while the process of having it brought to the table (“OOOOPPPAAAAAAA!!”) was intermittently terrifying, it has remained one of my favorites. This would be a great snack for the opening ceremonies.
Since this isn’t a breaded, deep-fried number, you need a cheese that will actually hold up to being pan-fried instead of turning into a puddle in the bottom of your pan. I use halloumi, but Greece has a whole slew of delicious sheep’s-milk cheese that will also fit the bill, including graviera, kefalograviera, and kelalotiri. I have also seen kasseri frequently recommended for it, but my own personal experience with kasseri was that it was too melty for the task. If you find you’re having that sort of issue with your cheese, freezing the dredged slices before frying and then using rather a high heat may help.
Cheesy deliciousness after the jump.