I found Kasseri cheese in the specialty section of my local grocery store last week and got it without a recipe in mind. I knew it was a Greek cheese, but wasn’t sure on how it was normally cooked. After searching the internet, I found out that Kasseri was often used for Saganaki, a Greek fried cheese dish covered in lemon juice. Closet Cooking created a recipe combining Saganaki with Roasted Strawberry Salad. I was sold. The strawberries are tossed in honey and balsamic vinegar before roasting. The juices are then tossed with green onions, lemon scented fried Kasseri, and spices before serving on a bed of romaine lettuce and topped with toasted walnuts. I had been planning on using the strawberries for a dessert, but happily bumped the dessert for this flavorful salad.
Kasseri is a Greek semi-hard cheese often fried for Saganaki; sliced or shredded for sandwiches, pizzas, or pies; or used as a table cheese. It is off-white, firm, and slightly rubbery to touch, with a tart and slightly salty flavor. It is traditionally made from sheep and sometimes goat milk, though cow’s milk versions are available. For Saganaki, use Halloumi cheese if Kasseri is unavailable. For sandwiches and pies, mild Cheddar, Colby, Provolone, and Mozzarella are the most common substitutes.
More information on Kasseri.
Roasted Strawberry Saganaki Salad
Adapted from Closet Cooking
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces Kasseri or Halloumi cheese
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 pound strawberries (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large frying pan, drizzle olive oil over medium heat. Slice the cheese into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Place 2-3 slices of cheese in the heated oil, careful not to overcrowd. Fry until each side is golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and top with lemon juice and zest. Repeat with remaining slices.
Remove stems from strawberries and slice in half. In a large bowl, stir together honey and balsamic vinegar. Add the strawberries, tossing to coat. Put the strawberries in a single layer in a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the strawberries begin to wrinkle around the edges and caramelize, 10-12 minutes.
Once cooled slightly, place strawberries and liquid back into the large bowl. Cut the saganaki into crouton sized pieces and add to the bowl. Stir in the green onions, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Place lettuce in serving dishes and top with strawberry mixture and chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.