Posted: 19 April '11 by Niall
I’ve always thought that Feta cheese was pretty boring and not particularly pleasant to eat. The chalky consistency and palate-scouring acidity really didn’t lend itself to anything other than the odd salad, and only then in small amounts. How on earth could this be a staple of any national cuisine, not least that of Greece, the cradle of civilisation?!
I recently stumbled across another blog that had a few Greek recipes, but was this one that changed my mind about Feta – the cheese becomes meltingly gooey and creamy, the Oregano adds a fresh herbal character which just captures memories of holidays in Greece, while the tomatoes have a fantastic sweetness which off-sets any harsh notes that might linger from the cheese or dried herbs.
Not only is it tasty, but the recipe is very easy and quick to prepare, and it’s perfect for sharing for a light lunch or for when you’ve friends over for an informal dinner – as long as you don’t mind fighting over the last tasty morsel.
Warm crusty bread and a good bottle of white wine is a must to fully enjoy this one.
You can see the photos here:
Serves 2 to 4 people.
- 200g of Greek Feta cheese
- 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- A good pinch of Oregano or Thyme
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- A glug of good Olive oil
You’ll also need a sheet of tin foil per parcel, roughly 30cm x 30cm, and a baking tray.
- Preheat the oven to the maximum heat.
- Lay your sheet of tin-foil out on a flat surface and put a light crease along the half-way point so you know where to place the ingredients.
- On the fully opened sheet, place the block of feta in the middle of one of the halves.
- Pile the chopped tomato around and on top of the Feta, making sure that the ingredients are well inside the half-way point that you marked.
- Sprinkle the Oregano and Black Pepper on top of the cheese, and drizzle the Olive oil on top – don’t be stingy with the oil!
- Now, fold the tin-foil in half along the crease you added earlier – this should leave you with three open sides.
- Take each side and fold the top and bottom piece of tin-foil over twice, pressing down to seal that side. Just take care not to stretch the tin-foil too tightly – there needs to be a little “give” for the parcel to expand.
- Make sure that you now have a fully sealed parcel.
- Place the parcel on a baking tray and place the tray in the oven.
- After 15 minutes or so, take the tray from the oven and slice the parcel open – there might be some steam, so be careful. If you can see that the Feta has melted, peel the tin-foil back to open the parcel fully – if not, return to the oven for another couple of minutes.
- Once you’re happy that the cheese is soft, serve immediately with plenty of bread.
I’d recommend the Picpoul de Pinet with the Baked Feta cheese and tomatoes.
The Olive oil
While you can certainly use a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil from your supermarket, this dish really deserves really good oil – one with lots of flavour and character.
We’d always recommend the olive oils from BioStore, available at St. George’s Market in Belfast at the weekend, or from their website www.biostore.ie – I used an oil from Puglia here, and it really added to the dish.