Wednesday, January 8, 2014

roasted feta with honey.

I think if I could only use one word to describe my eating preferences it would probably be cheese-aholic. I'm not ashamed to admit that I don't usually consider something a meal unless it includes something of the dairy variety.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I can only eat scrambled eggs with grated Gruyere melted in.  I will continue to be vocal about the fact that it is not a pizza unless it includes cheese. (If it doesn't have cheese, it's a flatbread.  Glad we are all on the same page now.).  

After that cheese confession, it seems only natural that we discuss a cheese recipe which means now is a good time to bring up the awesome roasted feta with honey that I made last week before I was infected will the flu. This is the kind of appetizer I dream about.  It exudes fanciness and is one (very easy) step above a putting a wheel of brie on a cheeseboard.  The roasting of the feta softens it, making it spreadable and malleable and perfect for topping crackers with.  The honey balances out the saltiness and the rosemary brings a little earthiness and extra warmth to the plate.  While this makes a great appetizer, I prefer serving it with an arugula salad for a satisfying winter dinner for two.  

Roasted Feta with Honey
Recipe adapted from Food 52

There are so many ways I can adapt this that the sheer amount of possibilities scares me.  Amanda uses thyme instead of rosemary which would be wonderful.  I think a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper or Urfa chiles at the end would be a pretty stellar change.  

One 8-ounce slab Greek feta, blotted dry 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 sprig rosemary, minced (optional)
Greek-style pita bread, toasted and cut into wedges or hearty crackers (I prefer the crackers here)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Select a small oven-to-table earthenware dish or a small ovenproof sauté pan lined with aluminum foil to help transfer the cheese to a plate after roasting. Place the feta in the dish and cover with the olive oil. Bake until the cheese is soft and springy to the touch but not melted, about 8 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Heat the honey in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water until it is fluid enough to be spread with a pastry brush and then paint the surface of the feta with it. Broil until the top of the cheese browns and just starts to bubble. Season with black pepper and the minced rosemary (if using). Serve immediately with pita wedges or crackers.

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