Spinning some taverna classics into delicate show-stopping plates, Irini first shows us the simple yet iconic tirokafteri. Tirokafteri is a spicy feta cheese dip that packs a flavourful punch. To include it on your mezze board, prepare it by blending feta cheese, flame-roasted red peppers, olive oil, garlic, red wine vinegar, fresh chilli and red pepper flakes. Serve it in a small bowl or ramekin, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped fresh oregano, and a sprinkle of paprika for a pop of colour. Tirokafteri is a favourite with natives and tourists alike for good reason and is delicious eaten with a wedge of home-cooked bread or along with some pillowy pita. However, Irini shows us how to elevate it by surrounding the creamy dip with a crispy array of another taverna classic.
Kolokithokeftedes, or courgette/pumpkin fritters, are a crispy and savoury addition to your mezze board. Prepare these by grating zucchini into some muslin or cheesecloth and rubbing with coarse sea salt before mixing it with a spiced flour mix, grated cheese, chopped mint, and eggs. Irini stresses the importance of removing all water from the courgette before mixing with the other ingredients to achieve the signature crisp. Shape the mixture into small patties and fry them until golden brown. Though traditionally most fried mezze dishes are deep fried in Greek EVOO, Irini shows how you can achieve a less calorific crisp by rolling the kolokithokeftedes in panko breadcrumbs and air frying for 15 minutes for a less authentic but equally crispy finish!