The first time I had this, I was with a friend at a little Greek Restaurant in downtown Vancouver. I ordered Saganaki at his suggestion, but I thought to myself, "strange to be ordering Japanese food at a Greek restaurant". But, no - it turns out Saganaki is a deliciously salty Greek appetizer make with fried or broiled cheese (usually Kasseri or Halloumi). I loved it, and now I will always order it for an appetizer if I'm in a Greek restaurant.
Last week, when I was poking around the grocery store looking for things to buy that I didn't need, I saw they had Halloumi cheese. My heart started to beat a little faster... and no, I don't need anyone to tell me how pathetic that is...
The package said that the cheese could be fried or grilled. Since it is usually served fried in restaurants, I decided to try it that way the first time. It worked out well. Mario has never had it before and he thought it was great! Claire and Marco wouldn't eat it because of the brandy... that's OK, more for us! This would be a perfect appetizer for dinner guests because it was so easy, it requires very little preparation and it is a nice small portion that won't fill everyone up before the main event.
4 slices Halloumi cheese (about 1/2" thick)
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz brandy (warmed)
1. Coat cheese slices with cornstarch and freeze for about 30 minutes before frying.
2. Melt butter over med-high heat and add cheese. Fry until gold brown on the first side (3-4 minutes).
3. Flip the cheese slices and add the lemon juice to the frying pan.
4. When the second side is browned (1-2 minutes), light the brandy and pour over the cheese. (Note: if you have a gas stove be REALLY careful not to spill brandy right on the burner flame - trust me!)
5. Put a piece of cheese on each plate and pour a little of the liquid from the pan over each. Serve with lemon wedges and fresh crusty bread, or pita.