A famous London food critic once wrote about this dish: ‘It sounds absolutely bonkers, but tastes heavenly and it has been beautifully crafted by a master.’ Try it and judge for yourself!
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
500g (1lb 2oz) feta cheese, cut into 10 pieces
rosemary sprigs and microherbs, to garnish
for the lemon marmalade
50g (1 3/4 oz) caster sugar
125ml (4fl oz) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 1/2 lemons)
pinch of saffron threads (optional)
375ml (13fl oz) water
9g (scant 1/4 oz) agar agar powder
for the caper meringue
250g (9oz) caster sugar
75ml (5 tablespoons) water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
for the tempura batter
225g (8oz) plain flour
225g (8oz) corn (maize) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
500ml (18fl oz) milk
sprinkling of black sesame seeds
First make the lemon marmalade. Put the sugar, lemon juice, saffron, if using, and measured water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the agar agar and continue to boil, stirring, for another minute until the agar agar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl. Leave to cool and set. Once cooled, pour into a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
For the caper meringue, put the sugar and measured water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add a sugar thermometer to the pan and continue to boil until the syrup reaches 120°C (250°F).
Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until they start foaming. While the mixer is running, add the hot syrup in a slow, steady stream. Continue to whisk until the meringue mixture has cooled to room temperature, then fold in the finely chopped capers. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until set.
For the tempura batter, whisk all the ingredients, except the sesame seeds, together using the cleaned stand mixer. Then add the sesame seeds and stir in by hand. Cover and leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Heat enough sunflower oil for deep-frying in a deep-fryer or a large, deep saucepan to 190°C (375°F). Dip the feta pieces in the tempura batter until well coated, then deep-fry in the hot oil, in batches, for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Drain and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil.
Pipe some caper meringue on top of each piece of feta and brown it with a blow torch for 2 seconds. Add a teaspoon of lemon marmalade alongside. Alternatively, serve the caper meringue and lemon marmalade on the side, but make sure that each mouthful combines all the components. Serve on a bed of rosemary and garnish with microherbs.
More modern and delicious Greek recipes in Mazi by Christina Mouratoglou & Adrien Carré