Bademli Peynir Ezmesi (Turkish Goat’s Cheese Spread)
I had my friend Sam over on Friday for a mezze feast; it’ll be one of our last evenings together before I move back to Budapest with my boyfriend. So I thought I’d try making a few Turkish mezze. We’ve been spacing out our farewell meals, so this was one of several indulgent nights in!
My dad and I had lunch with Andrew’s parents the other week at a fantastic Anatolian restaurant in central London called Tas (no, they’re not paying me, though I’d happily accept boxes of their mezze instead of money!) We tried a range of brilliant mezze but the one we all loved was this, a goat’s cheese spread with almonds, parsley, dill and chilli. It was fantastic, and I would have happily munched through bowls of the stuff!
I tried recreating it with Sam and it turned out pretty well!
The base of this dish is a Turkish red pepper spread called muhammara – made with red Aleppo chilli peppers and walnuts. I’ve had it on its own with pitta and adore it. If you see it in a shop, buy it now because it’s brilliant stuff!
This gives it a brilliant depth of flavour which is really addictive. I bought mine, but you can use this fantastic recipe to make your own if it’s not readily available.
So, let’s get started. We had this with a variety of flatbreads, and it’s also an amazing sandwich filler.
200g feta cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and crumbled
2 garlic cloves, mashed with a teaspoon of salt
3 tsp muhammara
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp mint
1 Bay leaf
Small handful of dill
Large handful of chopped almonds – toasted or blanched
In a food processor, blend all the ingredients except the bay leaf, until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, mash with a fork in a large bowl (if you do this, it’s easier if the feta has been at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes)
Place in a bowl and if using, add the bay leaf and chill in the fridge overnight.
Remove it about 15-20 minutes before serving, take out the bay leaf if using, let it come to room temperature (or as close to it as you want).
Add the dill and almonds and serve with warm pita bread, olives and a mix of other mezze. We had this with (completely homemade!) Lamb Kofte, Taboulleh, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Spanakopita and a Moroccan Yoghurt Dip!