This dish uses 3 different types of lemon flavours, which might seem unnecessary, but when combined they give the artichokes and courgettes and greater chorus from which to sing. The deep fried feta balances out the acidity with satisfaction of hot molten cheese. Don’t be put off by the deep frying, it doesn’t require special equipment or lots of oil.
Mix the thinly sliced courgette with the table salt in a bowl so that all the pieces have been separated. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the salt to draw out the water from the courgettes. After this, squeeze the courgettes over a sink to remove as much water as possible.
Dry the artichokes on a sheet of kitchen paper then place in another bowl, with the lemon thyme, preserved lemon, lemon oil and a few pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
To coat the feta, mix the flour, cayenne and black pepper in one shallow bowl and the eggs in another. Have a plate ready to put coated feta on and then set up a production line. Drop the feta into the egg and gently move around with a fork so that each piece gets covered. Lift up a piece of feta with a fork and allow any excess egg to drain off, then drop it into the flour. Shake the bowl with the flour so that the feta gets coated and then pick up with another fork, shake off and excess flour and place on the plate. Repeat the process with all the feta.
Add the courgettes to the artichokes and mix to combine the flavours. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper if you think it needs it. Divide everything between 4 plates.
Put a frying pan or shallow pot on a high heat and add the sunflower/rapeseed oil. The oil needs to be very hot, so don’t leave the pan unattended. To check if it is hot enough, drop a piece of bread in and see how quickly it colours. If it turns dark brown quickly the oil is too hot. What you want is for it to go golden brown in around 2 minutes.
When ready, carefully add the feta and fry for 1 – 2 minutes. Turn the feta over so that all sides get browned and cook for another 1 -2 minutes. If start to look too dark or if the cheese starts to run out, then remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper, to allow the excess oil to drain. Divide between the plates and serve immediately, whilst the cheese is hot and runny.