The eleventh of my 12 cookbook challenges is from a Greek cookbook I got in France. It really caught my eye because it describes three generations of a Greek family and their favourite dishes. The extra challenge that Mick gave me was to use feta in the side dish. So this was going to be easy enough. There is one feta dish I love but have never made myself.
Keftedes, Tsatsiki and Feta Saganaki
Greek meatballs, Tsatsiki and breaded Feta
1/2kg minced meat
400g piece of feta, not marinated
1 big cucumber
250g Greek Yoghurt
Usually I would put crumbled feta cheese into the meat balls, but this time I went without because there was already feta cheese in the side dish. Mix the minced meat with the finely chopped onion and one garlic clove, then add one egg and a big handful of breadcrumbs. Mix it all thoroughly with salt, pepper and oregano. You can add more breadcrumbs if the mix is too wet. Put it aside to let it sit for a bit.
Grate the cucumber into a bowl and mix it with the greek yoghurt. Finely chop or press two garlic cloves into the mix. Then chop the dill, mix it in and add salt and pepper. Then squeeze the juice of half a lemon in and add a spoonful of olive oil. Mix it all through and put it in the fridge.
In three deep plates or pots put the flour in the first, the scrambled and salted egg and a bit of water in the second, and the breadcrumbs mixed with oregano in the third. Then start making meatballs out of the mince.
Put finger-high oil in a deep pan and heat it until it sizzles. Cut the feta in big chunks, more than a finger wide. Carefully cover each piece in the flour, then cover it completely in the eggs. In the end, dip it in the breadcrumbs and make sure it’s completely covered again. Since feta cheese is not a very solid cheese, you need to be careful when making the batter so it won’t fall apart.
You can fry both the meatballs and the feta in the same pan. The feta is done much quicker, so once it’s brown you can take it out and put it in the oven to keep warm. This also helps with melting the cheese in the middle whilst the meatballs are cooking.
Once the meatballs are nice and brown and the feta cheese is nicely hot, plate it all with Tsatsiki in the middle. It also works very well with white bread.
I’ve made the greek meatballs often, mostly with feta mixed in or a piece of feta in the middle of the meatball – which is fantastic too when it melts! The Tsatsiki with dill was also new for me, and very delicious. The feta was my biggest worry because I knew how crumbly it was. I had no idea how well it would work with the batter. I order it whenever it’s on the menu of the Greek restaurant I’m in. In the end, it worked very well and all the things were super delicious, but the Feta was my favourite! On the one hand because it’s always been one of my favourite Greek dishes and on the other because I’m so happy I can make it myself now. Making it again, I will. Certainly. Soon.