MANOURI is one of the joys of Greek cheese production. The word derives from the ancient Greek manos (tyros)= light, not hard (cheese) and highlights the cheese’s old origin. A good manouri is an exceptional fresh Greek cheese. It has delicate, milky taste, characteristic flavor, dense but smooth, almost spreadble texture and white color. It is produced in Thessaly, Central and Western Macedonia from whey of goat or sheep milk, or mixture of them, with the addition of fresh full-fat milk and fresh cream. You’ll find it at the market in log-shaped rolls, or in pieces cut from a roll.
Although cheese purists eat it on its own, perhaps with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or with a cracker biscuit, what manouri really does is afford you the ability to play around it. Try it fried or grilled, in pies or in stuffings for vegetables or, even better, eat it with some fresh or dried figs or preserves or nuts and honey… it is fantastic!
The recipe that follows is for cheese junkies and was inspired by reading a piece of a poem entitled ‘Deipnon’ (The Dinner) by Philoxenus of Cythera. Philoxenus of Cythera (435 BC-380 BC) was a Greek dithyrambic poet who had an adventurous life. This extravagant Deipnon in verse, which have been preserved by Athenaeus, author of The Deipnosophists, probably intended as a satire on the luxury of the court of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse.
CHEESE & SESAME BALLS
300 gr. manouri
2 tbs. + 1/3 cup of flour
1/2 cup thyme honey
1 cup sesame seeds
olive oil for frying
Crumble cheese by hand. Add 1 tbs. honey, 3 tbs. sesame seeds, 2 tbs. flour. Mix well. Shape into balls, roll in flour and fry in hot oil.
Gently heat the honey for a few seconds until runny, but don’t overheat it. Place the cheese balls on a plate covered with ½ cup sesame seeds. Pour honey over them and sprinkle with the rest of the sesame seeds.
This is my entry for La Fete du Fromage, hosted by Chez Loulou