Saganaki / Σαγανάκι

Celebrity chef Loulla Astin was born in Avgorou, Cyprus but has lived most of her life in Manchester where she owned and ran Kosmos Taverna for 40 years.
Loulla appeared regularly on ITV, Carlton and Sky and was a Resident Chef on Granada TV’s The Afternoon Show. She even recorded her own 52-part TV series titled Simply Greek.
This week, Loulla shares her recipe for Saganaki, fried Greek cheese.
Is there anyone who does not like fried cheese? In Greece ordering a “saganaki” basically means fried cheese. Crunchy on the outside, soft, melted cheese on the inside!
Saganaki refers to a small, two handled, heavy brass frying pan, itself called a saganaki or sagani, used to fry cheese and other appetizers.
You can also make prawn or mussels saganaki in a tomato sauce with crumbled feta cheese.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 thick square slices of kefalotyri or other hard cheese (Graviera or Kasseri) – slice around 11 x 11cm (4 x 4 inch), thickness must be at least 1 ½ cm, if it is thinner, it may melt. In Greece you can get the cheese already sliced.
2 tbsp ouzo, optional
Lemon wedges

Take the slice of cheese, dip it in cold water and ouzo, then in flour and shake to remove excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small heavy pan under medium heat. When hot, place the cheese in the pan and fry for about 2 minutes until golden, then flip carefully so you don’t break it. Fry on the other side for about 2 minutes or until the crust is golden.
Remove from pan, place on a plate with a lemon wedge, and serve right away.
I like to eat it with a few sliced tomatoes or drizzled with Greek or Cypriot honey – both delicious!

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