Greek Htipiti, a Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip

The late afternoon light gently caresses the once grand terraces that curl above Corfu Old Town. Lunch hour is long over and there is not a soul to be seen. The air is hot and still. The buildings shuttered against the sun. There is no sound save for the odd chirrup of a dusty sparrow and, far in the distance, the pleasant domestic chatter of women working away in their cool dark kitchens. A child’s laughter. Sun-beached doors their window panes covered with embroidered white cotton reveal nothing of what lies behind them. Maria Callas gazes down beguilingly, her body shrouded by the shadow of a towel and a pair of garish trunks still dripping with sea water. They belong to a collector of natural sponges. We walk down to his place of work, a turquoise sea set against the distant mountains of Albania. We wonder at the glittering beauty of it all – could he be one of the luckiest men alive – before turning into the shaded courtyard of a favourite backstreet taverna for a glass of chilled retsina, some freshly baked pitta and a plate of htipiti, a wondrous combination of roasted red peppers, feta, chilli and Kalamata olive oil. One of my favourite dishes in the world.

Greek Htipiti

 

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

250g red peppers (I roast them but the Greek jarred ones are also fine, I like Karyatis)
1 red chilli, seeds removed and roughly chopped
250g good quality feta, mashed with a fork
3 tbsp Kalamata extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground mixed peppercorns
Fresh dill, finely chopped

How I make it

Heat an oven to 100C.

Place the peppers on a baking tray and leave them to gently roast for one hour. Remove from the oven and place the them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside to cool. Then remove the skins and roughly chop them. Place in a food processor with the chilli and blitz into a rough paste.

Turn out into a large bowl and add the feta, olive oil and plenty of pepper.

Stir to combine, garnish with the dill and chill before serving with warm flatbread or pitta.

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