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

Roastedfetablog

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.

Comments

  1. says

    This recipe looks amazing!
    I’m forever extolling the virtues of fresh goat’s cheese drizzled with our local honey. It is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I never thought of grilling the cheese first…

    I’ve been to Harbour Island, just off of Eleuthera. It is a very special place and I imagine its honey is equally special.
    I’m buying some feta the next time I’m at the market!
    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. says

    It sounds as though my love of cheese may only be second to your love affair with this dairy-based great. Oh goodness—this looks and sounds fabulous. I must try. Thanks for sharing the experience—R.

  3. Philippe says

    The combination of the sweetness of the honey and savory flavor of the cheese sounds so good I could already taste it. I remembered Jamie Oliver making something similar to this in his show “Jamie at Home.” Although I couldn’t remember if he also grilled the cheese or just lightly seared it i think it’s in episode where he features strawberries. Oh well nice job on the cheese and I love the set design of you photo. I just have to say that I also love cheese, I would be surprise if anyone doesn’t like cheese. Great work on this one. ;)

  4. says

    Grilled feta cheese with honey and pepper – I know what you mean! This disease has caught me too! It’s unbelievable, that taste, it has everything!

    But, to share a secret, add aniseed and you’ll reach nirvana. Like, no kidding. If what you tried was heavenly, this is…well, how good can it get?:)

  5. says

    I’ve never ever heard of this before. I’ve done grilled haloumi with great success, but broiled feta is new! Surely it would be great as part of a meze serving.

  6. says

    Well, well, well… in all the years I’ve been eating feta, I’ve never thought to roast it. Sounds wonderful – so now I’ll be buying a nice big slab and a jar of thyme honey at the first opportunity. Thanks, Matt!

  7. says

    Dearest Matt – I’m not a huge feta fan normally, but your beautiful post has convinced me to try this recipe (have you tried baking ricotta? It’s really nice too). I wish I was there with you and Adam (and all the girls) to enjoy a lovely meal like this. kxxx

  8. says

    I wanted to eat the page! I can’t believe I’ve never thought of baking feta before- can’t wait to try it-it looks absolutely delicious-and a great photo, too.

  9. says

    damn you, matt! I was just going to read a few blogs…no commenting and get to work.

    now I get this and had to say “YUMMY!!!”.

    This will be a defnite “try it” at home.

  10. says

    This recipe is similar to Saganaki, that I tasted once in Santorini, but without honey, just lemon and oregano, more hard and tasty that the regular oregano that we found here.You blog is amazing ad I love the photos too

  11. says

    I’ve tried a roasted feta recipe with red peppers before (Gourmet? Bon Appetit?), which was great, but the honey version sounds even better.
    A lovely rustic :) photo as well :)

  12. says

    What a gorgeous photo! I can’t wait to try this. Your site is continuousy inspiring–both aesthetically and gastronomically.

  13. says

    Looks luscious. I can’t wait to try this!
    So simple, so readily available, so easy, yet it’s never occurred to me to do this with feta!

  14. says

    Haha, so glad I found your post. I just had about an hour’s length of conversation with my boyfriend (after a few vodka tonics) about how we need to start paying off our debt and preparing ourselves to becoming cheese-makers in the future!

    I’ve never been into feta but I will take your word for it and try this recipe. Thanks!

  15. says

    hahaha. heehee. Matt, you rock. I can picture you jumping up and down! What a lovely post; I promise to make the cheese.

    Besides, I have to listen to you b/c I met Lara from Cook & Eat (and her other long litany of impressive, brilliant sites) and she told me how cool, awesome, lovely you are and so now… I have to get out my skillet and caramelize feta. Because you/she said so, and I believe you.

  16. georgi says

    I made this Sunday for a few guests. It was an absolute hit!!! Served with homemade pita chips it was thoroughly enjoyed.

  17. says

    Matt, I decided to check out some blogs from January and clicked this entry at the sight of FETA! I only discovered this lovely cheese last year and I so must try this scrumptious sounding recipe (not that you had any effort in that, your writing is so bland it’s horrible! Just Kidding!) And the photo you have with this post, oh my! That is so gorgeous!!! Happy New Year in 2010!

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