My New Favorite Thing Of All Time (for today, at least)

by Matt on January 20, 2008


Oh, I’m the silliest. I wrote an entire post that discussed, in great length, my love of cheese. Cheese cheese cheese cheese cheese. I said something like how I couldn’t live without it, how perhaps in another life I was a a cheesemaker or how I’d love to return as one if I ever got the chance, cheesecetera, cheesecetera, cheesecetera. I also mentioned that I was finally getting around to making a recipe that appeared in the New York Times last fall about Greek food, particularly cheeses. So I built my little set in my garage, ran back inside to fire up the oven, patted down a gorgeous hunk of Greek feta and warmed up some honey made by Eleutheran bees that I smuggled brought back legally from the island last week.

So far so good. After a few minutes in the oven these cheese comes out and makes it way to my little studio.

Because I also wanted to taste this recipe, I moved fast. I snapped about 4 pictures of the beautiful, bubbly square of cheese and then, in the middle of my garage, decided to dive in and taste.

That’s when all sense, reason and previously written posts disappeared.

I should probably tell you that there’s not really many cheeses that don’t float my boat, and I’m happy to eat just about any of them. But when feta comes to mind it’s usually just a crumble in a salad, another ingredient in an omelette, a quick bite marinated in some herbed olive oil. But ladies and gentlemen, this recipe had me jumping up and down and cursing my own name for such culinary neglect while simultaneously telling myself oh my god I am so glad I tried this recipe now quick! make more! now!

So there you have it. No interesting story or history as much as a plea that you try this, if you haven’t already. Please, seriously, try this. Roasting feta turns it into a delightfully soft texture, the honey caramelizes thanks to the 2nd broil, and the pepper adds the last dimension to an otherwise heavenly experience. As suggested I included a few homemade pickled onions for contrast and texture, and now I plan on marching right back into the kitchen and repeating the experience because I have pita left. And I hate to waste food.

Roasted Feta With Thyme Honey

1 8-ounce slab Greek feta, blotted dry

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Greek thyme honey, or other honey

Freshly ground black pepper

Greek-style pita bread, toasted and cut into wedges

Heirloom tomatoes, roasted beets, nuts or pickled vegetables (optional).

1.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.

2. 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 to taste with black pepper. Serve immediately with pita wedges and, if desired, sliced heirloom tomatoes, roasted beets, nuts or pickled vegetables. Serves 4 to 6. Adapted from Sara Dickerman.