My return from Greece last weekend was chaotic, to say the least. I woke up feeling far from fresh and very sleepy. I had with me a stockpile of Greek ingredients: feta, fava, oregano, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. I wanted to play.
I invited a friend round for dinner. I had spent the day making eclairs (recipe on My Daily) and had already eaten four before I dialled in my eclair SOS. Save me from myself, come immediately, I just can’t resist them, I plead. So we had a backwards dinner, eclairs to start, while I pottered around the kitchen playing around, a glass of Santorini Assyrtiko wine keeping me company.
I made several dishes that night, and will share this Roast Feta with you now. I was thinking of the Santorini tomatoes, tiny and intensely sweet having grown on that arid volcanic soil. I hadn’t brought any with me, but I did have oak roasted tomatoes from the Isle of Wight Tomato Stall, a regular from my culinary arsenal. They are so intense and sweet, and require no work, as it has all been done for you. They are brilliant for veggie friends too, and work really well in a veggie carbonara, as they have all of the umami intensity that bacon does (trust me, they do).
This dish is very simple and barely requires a recipe, but there are a few things you should pay attention to. Buy good and proper Greek feta, it is protected so once it is called feta you will be fine but beware of fetta or similar. Proper feta is just made with sheep and goats milk, with no cow, and has a wonderful sweet, sour, salty flavour. Also use the best extra virgin olive oil that you can afford. If you are investing, you might as well go Greek, given the recipe that you are using it for. If you can’t get the Tomato Stall tomatoes, roast some good cherry tomatoes at home yourself under a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil at 150 deg C for about half an hour.
RECIPE: Roast Feta with Tomatoes, Oregano, Chilli & Red Onion
Serves 2 as a starter or snack
1 x 200g block feta cheese
1 tsp good dried Greek oregano
half a small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
8 oak roast tomatoes (see above – either from the Tomato Stall, or make your own if you can’t get them)
1 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of good dried chilli (I am loving Mexican pasilla chilli at the moment, it has lovely heat and a round fruity flavour, I bought mine from Spice Trekkers who sell online as well as in their shop in Montreal if you are near there)
a roasting dish and greaseproof paper to bake the feta in
Preheat your oven to 180 deg C.
Prepare your roasting dish by placing enough greaseproof paper to go under and over the feta while it cooks – about double the size of the tin.
Oil the centre of the greaseproof paper where the feta will sit.
Place the feta in the tray and sprinkle with the onions, tomato, olive oil and chilli.
Cover the feta by pulling the greaseproof over it and folding it, or securing with some string.
Roast for 20 minutes when the feta will be nice and hot but still firm, the onions soft and the flavours will have mingled in the greaseproof feta tray.
Eat immediately. Enjoy!