Confession: I love feta cheese and Greek men. I swear, my Jewish boyfriend is well aware of both facts. Before embarking on a two-week long family vacation to Santorini and Mykonos last summer, I told him, “I will eat a block of feta in brine everyday and, maybe, just maybe, I’ll even find a Greek husband and never return to America.” I only fulfilled the first half of my promise. (My BF is perfect enough at the moment.) I tried pan-fried feta (also known as saganaki), deep-fried feta, baked feta, breaded feta, you-name-it feta—I had it ALL. My favorite variation was phyllo-wrapped feta served with honey. In the morning, there is seriously no sweeter thing.
After leaving Greece against my will, I knew that I couldn’t live my life without fried feta for breakfast—and that’s when I discovered how easy it was to make a version of my favorite feta dish at home. Saganaki is most commonly served as an appetizer with a breaded sesame seed crust. My version passes on flour and sesame seeds and instead wraps feta in crackly, buttery phyllo dough instead. Although the cheese softens as it fries, it still manages to hold its shape and remain sharp and salty. The golden phyllo crust adds a delightful crunch. It’s then smothered in honey for good measure and ultimate happiness.
Fried Feta with Honey
Remove the block of feta from brine and cut 8 rectangles that are about 4 inches long, 2 inches wide, and ½-inch-thick.
Place two portions of phyllo dough on top of each other and slice in half. Layer on top of each other.
Melt butter in the microwave. Using a pastry brush, spread butter all over a single sheet of dough. Place one block of feta in the middle and fold the feta in phyllo dough as if you were wrapping a present—because that’s exactly what it is! Repeat three times, making sure that each block of cheese is encased in three layers of phyllo.
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, warm just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Fry the phyllo-wrapped feta cheese for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Set on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
Drizzle with honey and serve hot.
1 pound feta cheese block in brine
1 16-ounce package phyllo dough, thawed
6 tablespoons Land O Lakes Unsalted Butter, for brushing the phyllo