RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Flaming Saganaki ...Opa!!! Burger

Saganaki, the Greek flaming cheese dish, was invented here in Chicago at the Parthenon restaurant in the late 1960s. This old-timer claims to be the first restaurant in America to serve gyros as well, which are still on the menu. My burger melds the flavors of both of these Chicago traditions. Not only delicious but its a rather exciting attention grabber. Opa!!!

Ingredients 

Patties:
2 Lbs ground sirloin
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground allspice
vegetable oil for cooking grate
Saganaki:
6 - 1/4" thick slices Kasseri cheese
Salt black pepper
2 cups brandy
1 cup flour
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 fresh lemons
1 large white onion slivered
3 plum tomatoes thinly sliced
2 cups shredded fresh spinach
1 cup tzatziki sauce
2 loaves fresh French bread

Instructions 

Season both sides of the cheese with salt and pepper. Place the cheese in a shallow dish and cover with brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make patties, in a large mixing bowl. Combine: ground sirloin, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, coriander, allspice. Knead with hands until ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions. With a 5" X 3" rectangle form, form 6 long rectangle shaped patties. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, 4 minutes on each side. When patties are done move to outside of grilling surface to keep warm. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Place large skillet in center of grilling surface. Remove the cheese from the pan, reserving the brandy and dredge slices in the seasoned flour, coating completely. Melt the butter. Pan-fry the cheese for 2 minutes on each side. Remove cheese slices from skillet. Remove patties from grill. Remove skillet from grill. Slice loaves of French bread into 6 equal segments, 5" each, lay on grill cut side down toasting lightly. Quarter both lemons. In separate smaller skillet place 2 cooked burger patties, place slice of fried cheese on top of each. Pour 1 shot of reserved brandy over cheese of each burger, carefully ignite cheese and leave flame until melted and brandy has burned off. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over melted cheese. Repeat process twice more until all 6 burgers have been flamed. To assemble the burger, spread tzatziki sauce liberally over one side of the toasted French bread segment, on top of tzatziki sauce place equal portions of shredded spinach, slivered white onions and sliced plum tomatoes. Top with burger cheese side up. Makes 6 burgers

Comments 

Use caution when igniting the brandy, be sure to keep skillet away from the face, flames can be rather unpredictable when first ignited and can shoot up rather high.