Last summer we spent some time in Corfu Old Town, one of my favourite destinations in the world. We didn’t do much for we had booked our trip at the last minute with the aim of getting away from the bonkers pace of our lives and properly slowing down. Our days quietly passed in a gentle hug of long breakfasts in our sunny yard, walking over to the tiny daily market to speak with the stall owners before buying a basket of locally-grown fruit and vegetables, dried legumes, spices, herbs and artisan bread. Just enough for the day. There followed a long walk along the beach or through the town grabbing lunch at cute little tavernas well off the beaten track. Over the years, I have developed a sixth sense for discovering local places where the food is simple yet outstanding; Marina’s Traditional Taverna is one such example. Situated in a quiet corner of the Spillia district – a former Jewish enclave – Marina is dedicated to finding the freshest ingredients and re-creating old family recipes from her homeland of Epirus which sits between the rugged Pindus mountains and the Ionian sea. Lunch at hers was a simple affair of freshly baked flatbreads; one topped with feta baked in a puddle of bright green olive oil and garnished with oregano and chilli flakes; the other topped with a tangy melange of the sweetest tomatoes, feta and wild oregano. A couple of days later, I re-created my interpretation of those dishes at our bright little apartment by the sea and served it up with a bottle of ice cold piney retsina, my absolute favourite drink in the world, and a whole lot of laughter. This hybrid of both recipes has since become one of our staples for a sunny spring/summer lunch.
Half a tsp of baking powder
Half a tsp of bicarbonate soda
150g authentic Greek yoghurt
A generous pinch of ground cumin (optional)
A generous pinch of sea salt
For the topping:
4 ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
200g of feta, crumbled
12 pitted Kalamata olives, torn in half
Kalamata extra-virgin olive oil
Half a lemon, juiced
Fresh oregano, for garnishing (optional)
Smoked chilli flakes or pul biber, for garnishing (optional)
How I make it
Heat an oven to 200C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, raising agents, yoghurt, salt and cumin (if using). Knead with your hands in the bowl until everything comes together in the form a soft dough. Cover with clingfilm and set aside.
In another bowl, mix together the tomatoes, feta, olives and wild oregano and spread out in a single layer onto the lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the feta begins to melt and turn golden at the edges, about 10-15 minutes.
In the meantime, place a frying pan onto a medium heat. Separate the dough into two balls and roll out onto a floured surface. Gently knock off any excess flour. Then lower the first disc of dough into the hot pan. Cook for around 3-4 minutes on each side until puffed up and golden. Repeat with the remaining disc.
Place the cooked flatbreads onto two serving plates. Pile on the baked tomato and feta topping, drizzle with a little olive oil, squeeze over the lemon juice, garnish and serve immediately.
If you’re short of time, this topping is also lovely piled onto lightly toasted sourdough drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.