tyrokafteri is a lovely spicy cheese dip which serves as part of meze. this is a very fine tradition indeed. small plates of flavourful dips and other dishes are served alongside aperitifs at the beginning of a meal, or as a meal itself. my friends and family and i eat in this casual fashion quite often, so i generally have some dips on hand and make tyrokafteri alongside some labneh, hummus, or taratour. we make a big salad, toss some olive-oiled pitas on the grill to blister, and we have dinner.
a nice thing about this spicy feta dip, is that is gets quite firm when chilled, which means it can be moulded and turned out like this terrine. i like how it can be sliced and served on appetizer plates, or if i’m feeling really fancy, prepared in a smaller mould and served with a small salad and bread for each guest at a dinner party.
you may have seen a white version of this, which is essentially cheese and green chilis. this one has a few more ingredients, and a more complex flavour to match it’s warm, summery colour and gentle heat.
250g good feta cheese
3 tbsp. very thick strained yogurt (labneh) or cream cheese
squeeze of lemon juice
3 tbsp good quality greek olive oil
1 each roasted red, yellow, and orange peppers
1 tsp. crushed hot red chilis or boukovo (hot greek chilis)
1 tsp. hot smoked paprika
1 tsp. chopped fresh mint
extra olive oil, for drizzling
place the feta in a bowl of cold water and allow to stand for 20 minutes to remove excess salt. cut the roasted peppers in half, reserving one half to layer in the terrine. drain the feta and place in the bowl of a food processor, along with the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, the pepper halves, hot chilis, and paprika. process until very smooth and creamy.
chop the reserved pepper halves into a very fine brunoise, or tiny little dice. mix together to distribute the colours. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp of olive oil, and stir in the chives.
line a 2 cup container with plastic wrap, or use 4 small ramekins, and leave an overhang. Place the chopped peppers in the bottom of the mold, or divide evenly among ramekins. Scrape the tyrokofteri into the mould(s) and smooth the top. cover with the overhanging plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours, better still, over night.
turn out terrine onto a plate. remove plastic wrap and smooth the edges with a small palette knife. drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm, grilled or oven-warmed pitas. Serves 4