Marathokeftédes – Fennel Fritters
2 large fennel bulbs
1 small leek
2 tablespoons, finely chopped dill
1 egg, beaten
70 gms, feta
2-3 tablespoonfuls, plain flour
Ground black pepper
Olive oil for frying
Wash the fennel, and trim off the stalks at the top, retaining any of the feathery leaves. Trim of the root stump at the bottom.
Slice the fennel as thinly as you can. A mandolin slicer is good for this – but mind your fingers.
Sprinkle the sliced fennel with a little salt and leave to rest for a few minutes.
Finely chop the washed leek and put in a mixing bowl with the chopped dill. If you have any of the fennel leaves, chop them too and add to the bowl.
Now take the chopped fennel, a handful at a time, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, discarding the liquid.
Add the squeezed fennel slices to the bowl with the chopped leeks and herbs.
Now add the beaten egg, crumble in the feta and season. Go easy on the salt, as the fennel will have retained some of the salt from earlier and the feat is salty too. Give the mixture a really good stir.
Now add 1 tablespoonful of flour and mix everything together again. At this point it’s a good die to mix it all with your hands, to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
The consistency of the mix should be fairly stiff and sticky. If it seems too watery, add a little more of the flour until all the ingredients are bound together. You don’t want too much flour, as it makes the finished fritters heavy and doughy.
In a large frying pan heat up enough olive oil to shallow fry the fritters. The oil needs to be hot enough to seal the fritters when you drop the mixture into the pan but not so hot that the mix burns.
Drop walnut sized blobs of the fennel mixture in to the hot oil. When it is firm enough, flip them over and fry the other side. You will need to do a few batches as you mustn’t overcrowd them in the pan.
Turn the fritters over a few times until golden brown.
Serve as a starter, accompanied by a little Greek yoghourt or as a mezé.