Grab the skillet, and pan-sear slabs of halloumi cheese

Daniel J. van Ackere/America's Test Kitchen via APHalloumi has a high melting point, making it a good choice for pan-frying.

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, breadcrumbs 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 just a drizzle of honey.


Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6-8

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

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

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Lemon wedges

Combine the cornmeal and flour in a 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 a plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Arrange the halloumi in a single layer in the skillet, and cook until golden brown on both sides, 2-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

Discard the oil left in the skillet, and wipe out skillet with paper towels. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now-empty skillet, and heat over medium heat until shimmering.

Add the garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic is golden brown and fragrant, about 1 minute. Drizzle oil mixture over the 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.