“What’s your signature dish?” A fairly ubiquitous question which I have to admit I loath hearing as a result of routinely struggling to think of a satisfactory answer. Why? I suspect it’s because I’m far more interested in exploring new and exciting dishes than honing one in particular, but if you were to ask me which recipe I’m most proud of, this would undoubtedly be it.
Crafted from disparate concepts I’d pilfered from a couple of intriguing recipes which irritatingly I can no longer recall, the feta cheese element perfectly compliments the riot of flavours in the topping to balance everything out with surprising harmony.
Soft, warm, creamy, salty cheese, finished with a cold, sweet, spicy, sticky, aromatic, acidic, zingy dressing. Pass me a spoon.
It may not be the most elegant dish, but give it a taste and I’m sure you’ll agree that looks can be remarkably deceiving.
- 20g fresh ginger, very finely diced
- ½ hot green chilli (10g), very finely diced
- Handful fresh coriander, chopped
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
- 75g stoned dates, chopped (Medjool are best!)
- Feta cheese (200g block is enough for 2 people)
Do not underestimate how long it takes to finely chop all the ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Place the feta in a heatproof dish and bake it for about 15 minutes or until it starts to brown very slightly on the edges. It wants to have a subtle sheen and a slight wobble to it like a panna cotta.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the topping.
Dress the hot cheese and serve with spoons.
Note that if you have any of the topping left over (this is probably enough for 2 blocks of feta – 4 people), it will keep for a few days if covered in the fridge…. You’ll just have to bake some more cheese or find another delicious use for it – please let me know if you do!