Archive for January 23rd, 2012

OPA! Saganaki

Sunday dinners are always special chez nous because from time to time my lovely nephew Brian (I have to be nice, he reads my blog) comes over for dinner, and yesterday was the day! Other than mushrooms (and he’s trying them to see if he might like them now), he’ll try almost anything, and he usually brings a good appetite so I am challenged to make something new, sometimes unusual and always delicious! Year’s ago I started keeping a food diary detailing what I cooked for whom and when so that I don’t duplicate (too often) — you know, we all have our favourite meals to cook, so I know what I served the last time he was here, or even a year ago. I now keep this diary on the cloud so I have access to it on my mac, my iPhone and my iPad! It’s very handy particularly when I’m at the grocery store and they are out of what I had planned, I can check back for an alternative option that hasn’t been had in a while (who are you calling “type A”? Hmmmmm!).

Last week, JT and I were mulling around at the grocery store, checking out what’s new and we both (at the exact same time) spotted the Saganaki cheese in the deli section! We looked at each other and went for it. Now this is not one of those foods you read the nutritional values for, you either commit to it or you decide for the better and put it back. It was not very expensive and we found a piece that was not too large and we both thought, OK, let’s do it. As it turned out, it was our supper that night, it’s a very filling dish.

Saganaki is a very fatty cheese that is pan fried until golden and then doused with Ouzo and set a flame (en flambé), and served to the table. Wikipedia claims that the flaming tradition was developed in 1968 at The Parthenon restaurant in Chicago’s Greektown (John or Bill, you’ll have to verify that for us!). I didn’t have Ouzo on hand, so I used the Pastis (French version with the same anise taste) and it worked out beautifully. We are going to start our dinner with Brian with this cheese dish ; it’s not light, but it will help us with the absorption of the copious amounts of alcohol we generally consume with the man — he is such a bad influence!

OPA! It's best not to wear anything flamable; and for safety's sake, tie that crazy mop with all the hairspray back!



  • 1 container baking soda or 1 fire extinguisher (always be prepared 😉)
  • 100-400g Saganaki cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain white flour
  • 2-4 tablespoons of oil (something with a high smoke point, like peanut oil)
  • 2-3 tbsp Ouzo (or Pastis as I had on hand)
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • Fresh bread (JT made his no knead bread and we added sesame seeds to it for extra flavour)


  1. Have the baking soda handy or bring out the Fire Extinguisher to a handy location.
  2. Remove the packaging from the Saganaki cheese. Dredge with flour, coating both sides really well.
  3. Heat the oil and add the cheese and cook until it is golden brown, flip and repeat.
  4. Douse the cheese with the Ouzo and light.
  5. Present to the table with sliced bread and wedges of lemon. A quick squeeze of lemon juice with stop the flames.

This is a dangerous appetizer, it’s best to have it with adult supervision!

Oh ya, I almost forgot. I must say a HUGE thank you to all who have participated in my very first give away. What fun I had reading your comments and I was so pleased that some of you found interesting posts from the past, and thank you for commenting on them. This is the best part of blogging, the feedback that we get and give. We had a great turnout, and I am very pleased that we had some new folks enter too, thank you and welcome. But I am also pleased that many of my loyal followers participated! I am so excited about giving away the salts. I have tabulated the entries and will be making the draw soon, so you’ll have to come back this week when I reveal the winner. Good luck to everyone, and THANK YOU!

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