Get out the skillet to pan-sear slabs of firm cheese

 

America's Test Kitchen

 

 

Named for the small frying pan traditionally used to prepare this dish, Greek saganaki is an appetizer made by pan-searing slabs of firm cheese. We chose to create a version using halloumi. 

 

To achieve the classic crisp, browned exterior that would offer a satisfying contrast to the chewy interior, we tried pan frying the halloumi plain and dusted with flour, bread crumbs and cornmeal. 

 

A combination of stone-ground cornmeal and a little all-purpose flour provided just the right golden-brown, textured crust. A squeeze of bright lemon juice offered welcome tang. 

 

To make a slightly more dressed-up version, we made a quick sauce with thinly sliced garlic, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes to drizzle over the top. The pan-fried halloumi also tastes great with a drizzle of honey. 

 

 

 

PAN-FRIED HALLOUMI 

 

Servings: 6-8 

 

Start to finish: 20 minutes 

 

 

 

2 tablespoons cornmeal 

 

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 

 

1 (8 ounce) block halloumi cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch-thick slabs 

 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

 

Lemon wedges 

 

 

 

  • Combine cornmeal and flour in shallow dish. Working with 1 piece of cheese at a time, coat both wide sides with cornmeal mixture, pressing to help coating adhere; transfer to plate. 

     

  • Heat oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Arrange halloumi in single layer in skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and serve with lemon wedges. 

     

  • Variation: Pan-Fried Halloumi with Garlic-Parsley Sauce -- After frying halloumi, discard oil left in skillet and wipe out skillet with paper towels. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to now-empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1 thinly sliced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook until garlic is golden brown and fragrant, about 1 minute. Drizzle oil mixture over pan-fried halloumi and serve with lemon wedges. 

     

    Nutrition information per serving: 135 calories; 100 calories from fat; 11 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 21 mg cholesterol; 301 mg sodium; 2 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 6 g protein.

     

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