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Flaming Saganaki

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Flaming Saganaki is a popular appetizer of pan-seared cheese. Saganaki is of Greek origin and literally means little frying pan. Generally saganaki refers to various dishes prepared in Greek cuisine and is named after the single-serving frying pan in which it is cooked. The flaming saganaki appetizer refers to a dish you can find in many cities in the United States, Canada and Australia. After being fried in butter, the saganaki cheese is flambéed at the table with some brandy (typically with a shout of "opa!"), the flames being extinguished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The cheese used in saganaki cheese is usually kefalograviera, kasseri, kefalotyri, or sheep's milk feta cheese.

More modern recipes suggest using mozarella cheese, or frying the cheese after being dipped in a mixture of beaten eggs and milk. Regional variations include the use of formaella cheese in Arachova and halloumi cheese in Cyprus. In some of these cases the cheese is melted in a small frying pan until it is bubbling and generally served with lemon juice and pepper. The dish is eaten with bread.

The flaming saganaki originated in 1968 at The Parthenon restaurant in Chicago's Greektown, based on the suggestion of a customer to owner Chris Liakouras.

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