Saganáki

(Fried Greek Cheese)

SERVES 4

Saganaki is Greek food at its best, offering both intense flavor and an entertaining presentation: The fried, sizzling cheese is doused with a shot of ouzo, and then lit with a match, to enthusiastic shouts of “Opah!” Alternate bites of cheese and sips of ouzo for a great taste experience.

**1⁄2 lb. hard cheese, such as kasseri or kefalotyri
1 cup flour
Vegetable oil
2 tbsp. ouzo
Lemon juice
**

1. Slice cheese into four 2” × 4” rectangles. Dip slices quickly in water, then roll them in flour to coat on all sides.

2. Pour vegetable oil into a medium saucepan to a depth of 2” and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, fry cheese until a pale golden crust forms. It shouldn’t be too brown outside or too melted within; there should be a bit of stretchy string when you bit into it.

3. Place on a warmed plate. Pour 2 tbsp. ouzo over the hot cheese and, holding the plate away from your body, carefully light with a match. Douse the flame with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve very hot.