Grilled Manouri Cheese with Caramelized Plums

Michael Psilakis likes to riff on saganaki—fried cheese with lemon. He uses manouri, a fresh, milky white cheese made from the whey that's drained off during feta production. Like nearly all Greek cheeses, it's produced from either sheep's or goat's milk.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 first-course servings


  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 medium plums, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound manouri cheese, cut into two 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
  • 6 cups packed arugula
  • 2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large skillet, cook the honey over high heat until darkened slightly, about 1 minute. Add the plums cut sides down and cook over moderate heat until they release their juices, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high and cook until the plums are browned, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the plums to a plate.

  2. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the sherry vinegar. Scrape the honey from the bottom of the skillet and stir together with the vinegar until blended; transfer to a small bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season the dressing with salt and black pepper.

  3. Light a grill. Drizzle the cheese with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Grill over high heat until grill marks form, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the cheese to a plate. Drizzle with olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, then sprinkle with the oregano. Cut each cheese round into 3 triangles.

  4. In a large bowl, toss the arugula with 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Mound the salad on plates. Arrange 2 plum halves and a cheese triangle on each plate. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the plums, sprinkle with the basil and serve.

Make Ahead

The caramelized plums and dressing can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

Contributed By Photo © Martin Morrell Published August 2010

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