In 1980, Bill was employed in Louisville, KY at Louisville and Nashville Railroad.  L&N merged with Seaboard Railroad in Jacksonville, FL (think warm, sunny, no snow, the South) and we were set to move to Jacksonville.  However, Bill was approached by a Chicago company connected with railroads; offered a job he couldn’t refuse and you know where we moved (think long winters, lots of snow, ice and WINDY!) 

I was looking forward to Jacksonville, having grown up in a Southern city but, the move to Chicago was the right move for Bill’s career and as he was originally from Crystal Lake, IL (Chicago NW suburb) with all of his family residing there nearby, it was fine; a good move.

Bill began working at the Chicago company a month or two before we actually moved here.  I came up for a visit during that time,  for several days, to meet people at his company, see his office and Chicago too.  I was amazed with it all!  Then, one day, we were invited to lunch at Greek Islands, which turned out to be a delicious food experience!

The gentleman we were with said we had to try this appetizer called "Saganaki."  In a short while, the waiter came to the table hoisting a tray in one hand, while he poured ouzo (Greek liquor made from anise) over the cheese with his other hand, and then torched the Saganaki to flambé the cheese, while yelling “Opaa!”  He proceeded to squirt lemon cheese over the Saganaki to dissipate the flame.  Saganaki was heaven from the first bite!

Saganaki (say sah-ghah-NAH-kee), takes its name from the two-handled shallow skillet used in the Greek kitchen.  It is very easy to make and smells heavenly.  The secret is to get the olive oil very hot, almost smoking.  Then add a slice of cheese coated in flour and pepper into the hot oil.  When it starts bubbling, remove from the skillet, pour ouzo over it, flame it, give it a squirt of lemon juice ~ Opaa!  You have a delicious, savory appetizer!

If you’ve never experienced Saganki and love cheese, you must give this a try, it is easy.  You will not be disappointed!  The aroma is breathtaking and the taste is out of this world delicious!

Photo courtesy of Ricardo DeAratanha/LA Times



½ pound Kasseri cheese
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup olive oil
½ ounce Ouzo
Juice of 1 lemon, strained


Cut cheese in wedges about 3” long and 1” thick.
Rinse with water and pat dry with paper towel.
Combine flour and pepper.
Dip cheese wedges in flour to coat on all sides.
In skillet, heat olive oil until it is very hot, not smoking.
Cook cheese in oil for 2-3 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.
The cheese will begin to melt.
Drain the excess oil, keeping the cheese in the skillet.
Pour ouzo on top of cheese and set it aflame using a barbecue lighter.
When the flame calms, squeeze the lemon wedge over the cheese.
Remove cheese from pan with spatula and place it on serving dish.
Serve immediately with pita bread.
Serves 4

είναι νόστιμο!  OPAA!!!


  1. I have had this in a restaurant but have never made it. It is delicious! You make it sound easy enough to try!

  2. Kate,I hope you try it as it is sooo delicious! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for your visit, Pam. I've never had this either but it sounds great!

  4. We love Saganaki, a friend who owns a restaurant serves it there. When my daughter was younger she loved when we ordered it just because they would light it and yell "Opa". I haven't made it at home, but I have made and posted about queso de freir a Hispanic frying cheese. It tastes similar but saganaki is more fun!

    Thanks for showing us how to do it!

  5. Thanks to the both of you!

    Savoring Time in the Kitchen, you're welcome and I hope to see you later, I will be visiting you soon!

    Lyndsey, isn't it the best! It sounds like you're daughter loved the production! It's amazing to watch! Your Hispanic dish sounds delicious also and I will check it out!

  6. I've heard so much about this dish but haven't tried it yet. Sounds so delish! Thanks for sharing a recipe!

  7. Saganaki, never heart looks nice and good!!!

  8. Hubby thinks I'm a latent pyromaniac...this recipe would verify it!

  9. I have never tasted this, either. Have to try it!

  10. Pam, never heard of this or tasted it but it sounds kind of like a greek version of rarebit..that's a question? Never seen that kind of cheese in our grocery stores...any substitutions? I live in a rural area..sigh. Joni

  11. Thanks to all of you!

    5 Star Foodie: you have to try it! It is incredibly yummy!

    Zia Elle: Here's hoping you give it a try!

    corgidogmama: Now you've got my attention! Go for it and find out for sure!!! ;)

    JG: You are in for a treat if you've never tried it!

    Red Couch Recipes: I'm not sure about the Greek version of rarebit but, this is not eaten on bread and such. It is eaten on its own and is hot fried cheese with a crust on it. You could substitute Kefalotyri, Pecorino romano, Gouda, White Cheddar, Haloumi or even Mozzarella. I would imagine they would all work fine. I hope you try it and really like it, Joni!

  12. wow, look at that! flambe! that's interesting it's called Saganaki, yet it's a Greek thing!

  13. Fried cheese? You're killin' me here! LOL I'd love to eat this but I'd be afraid to try it!

  14. this is my sister's favorite thing to eat!

  15. I used to work at a restaurant that served saganaki served just like this-it was wonderful!

  16. Krissy, you got it! Beats me!

    Karen, one bite and you're hooked, right? I take one bite and want to hog the whole thing. I absolutely love it! But then, what's not to love about cheese when it is warm and oozey? Add a little salad and it would be a meal for me. I hope you try it sometime!!!

    Simply Life, your sister obviously has good taste! Way to go!

    Stella, I am jealous of you! I would have been in Saganaki heaven! Ummm!

  17. wow watever it is called... looks great!!

  18. How fun! I can't believe this is the first time I'm hearing about this fun, delicious appetizer!

  19. looks awesome!!! will defintely try this~

  20. sounds interesting and looks great..would love to try it out pam..

  21. Thanks so much for stopping by my site! I love the sound of this dish. Seems pretty simple to make and looks delicious!

  22. I've never had this. It looks and sounds fantastic!

  23. wow!u have an awesome space here!!!
    saganaki looks absolutely delicious!
    n simple to follow!tnx for sharing

    Thanks a lot for stopping by 'simply delicious'

  24. Thank you for the visit and for the lovely comment on my blog,and also thanks for follow me!
    This dish looks delicious.
    Have a lovely day

  25. Aruna: that's right! WOW!

    Barbara Bakes: Yes! I'm glad you have been introduced you to it!

    shahana: thanks! I hope you do!

    Sushma Mallya, thank you! It's definitely worth trying!

    Susan, you're welcome! It is easy to make, just takes a couple of minutes to fry it; when it melts a little and gets crispy, it's ready.

    theUngourmet: it's a great new dish to try and I hope you do!

    sangi: thank you so much! I enjoyed your blog also!

    Annalisa: You're welcome! And the same to you! Here's wishing you a wonderful day!

  26. Look at that cheesy goodness!

  27. Mireya, thanks! I love those blueberry scones you posted and will be making them. Thanks!

  28. A favorite memory was having this in Greek Town in Chicago many years ago now. This will be fun to try at home once we get the smoke alarm fixed -ha! Great way that you put stories with your recipes. I like the quotes and photos along the side too.

  29. midwesttomidlands, glad you visited Greek Town, the food is great there! Get that smoke alarm fixed soon and go for it! ;) Thank you so much; it seems some foods just have a little story with them. Glad you like the quotes also! Thank you!


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