25 March 2012

Black and White Saganaki


Black and White Saganaki
Whenever I venture to one of our local Greek restaurants Saganaki is sure to be ordered at our table. The simplicity of this dish and the incredible impact on the taste buds make it truly memorable. The inspiration for todays lunch came from a memory of a sesame seed crusted version I saw somewhere from Diane Kochilis' cookbook "Mezes." 

According to Greek mythology, Aristaios, son of Apollo and Cyrene, was sent by the gods to give the gift of cheese-making to the Greeks. It was called a "gift of everlasting value", and the value of that gift keeps increasing with age. I know it is appreciated in my kitchen.

We enjoy saganaki at our local Greek restaurant that I hope rivals any we have found in Greece, which has to be due to the quality of the cheese. I am told a variety of cheeses can be used. Kefalotiri is a traditional Greek cheese manufactured from ewe or goat's milk or a combination of the two. It has a salty and piquant taste and a unique rich aroma. Perfect for saganaki. A good substitute would be Kefalograviera which is a hard cheese of high quality with a slightly sweet taste; or Kasseri which is a semi-hard ewe or goats milk cheese. If none of these are available I am told you can substitute a good goats milk feta cheese. At our local grocers you can purchase a cheese simple called Saganaki, but am not really sure which category this falls under. 

When you sprinkle lemon juice liberally over the saganaki, it is transformed from the expected to the unexpectedly good! Something about the alchemy of tart lemon with the salty cheese and the slight texture and flavour of sesame really makes this an instant favourite. Today mine are all dressed up in their Sunday finery. The addition of black sesame seeds gives this humble recipe the WOW factor. With a simple cucumber salad this is a beautiful light lunch for two.

**Black and White Saganaki**

Cucumber Salad


1 cucumber
2 sprigs mint or basil, leaves picked and torn
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ lemon, juiced 
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil


Saganaki 


Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 slices kefalograviera cheese, 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick
1 egg white
150ml olive oil
2 lemons 
Crusty bread, pita or naan bread to serve

Peel the cucumbers to give a striped effect and thinly slice. Combine with mint or basil, lemon juice. olive oil and feta in a medium bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper.


Lightly beat egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Lightly dampen cheese slices in this mixture, then dip into sesame seed mixture to coat. Alternate by dipping every other cheese slab into black sesame seeds. 


Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add cheese and fry on each side for 2 – 3 minutes or until golden. At the end drizzle with lemon juice. 

Serve immediately with cucumber salad, lemon slices and crusty bread.


Serves 2

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

26 comments:

  1. This looks AMAZING, Val. I want it for lunch!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this Val. It looks healthy and delicious and I adore black sesame seeds. I always have a jar in the refrigerator.

    I rarely go to Greek restaurants because there aren't any near us, but when I do I have no idea what to order and I find that rather embarrassing.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really tasty! Something I could eat right now.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  4. what beatiful recipe dear Val!! have a nice day:))

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ooh, what time is lunch? I'm on my way.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I adore Greek food! Feta is about as close a Greek cheese as I can get, but when I can get to the city I'll get some kasseri and make this. (The cucumber salad I can do for lunch tomorrow.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Saganaki is almost always our appetizer when we are in Greek Town Chicago. I've never had it with black sesame seeds but it looks and sounds delicious. I wish I had that plate sitting in front of me right now.

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  8. Shankar is new to me. it sounds Japanese but the ingredients prove it's Greek. I shall seek it out. GREG

    ReplyDelete
  9. Val, great name for this dish and the black sesame seeds offers a nice contrast. Poppyseeds would work too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love Greek and Mediterranean food so how have I been missing this? It sounds wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  11. All you had to say is cheese and I was pretty much sold. Love this!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm SO glad you posted this recipe, Val. :-) I've been wanting to make this for quite some time but forgot about it completely until today. :-) I'm delighted that you reminded me. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. We always order saganaki at our local Greek restaurant

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've never had Saganaki, Val. It looks wonderful...love the cheese/lemon flavors. Not sure we even have a Greek restaurant around here, but I'd love to make this bread at home.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You are a fantastic source for Greek food my darling! Thanks for the new air you bring to my kitchen :D... Spring inspires me ;D

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have to step outside the box and try this cheese - something that I've seen on Peter's blog that always seemed appetizing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. We have one restaurant that still prepares Saganaki at the table, not as elaborate as your recipes; this sound wonderful.
    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  18. there are only a handful of greek foods that i go ga-ga over, and saganaki is one of them!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is new to me and I've never had that type of Greek cheese but I love how you've described it with the lemon juice!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love this. Just wish I could find the right cheese more easily.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Val, this is really fabulous. I'll be trying this for our lunch on Saturday. It sounds wonderfully flavorful and I am always delighted with the result when I fry cheese. Thanks for sharing this one. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love Greek food like no other...looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Mmmm...cheese fried in seeds. That sounds awesome to me! I see more Greek cheeses available locally these days and there are so many good recipes for them that I really need to check one out.

    Saganaki always sounds to me like it could also be a Japanese dish. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I've never hear about saganaki but it sounds pretty good with all those flavors combined

    ReplyDelete
  25. That is also the first thing I order in Greek restaurants, but never saw it served this way. Next time I go to my Greek store to buy my cheeses I will surely make this.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Once again you've taken something delicious and made it amazing with a simple twist. I'm making this on Friday - we're having a Greek themed Good friday meal.

    ReplyDelete

Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.