A recipe for foil-baked feta has been making the internet rounds in the past few weeks. Originally published in Olive magazine, I first saw it at The Kitchn, and later on one of my favourite home and design blogs, At Home At Home. Of course, from the moment I first saw the ingredients in this recipe, I knew I just had to make it.
I’ve been having a feta-and-tomato thing this summer, a Mediterranean moment if you will, so of course this combination of feta cheese, tomatoes, herbs and chili appealed to me. I first made it about two weeks ago, almost immediately after seeing the recipe. Predictably, I loved it, and soon found myself raving about it to my Dad on the phone. After listening intently, he came out with “Sounds good, but of course you wouldn’t need to use the foil.”
Huh? Ok Dad, have you not been listening? The foil is the whole point of this recipe. It’s what makes is so casual, so simple, so appropriate for summer barbecues. Then I thought about it, and realized he was right. I don’t have a barbecue, and in the oven, a small baking dish can easily replace the foil wrapper. Baking this in individual ramekins also makes it easier to reduce the proportions of the recipe, as well as use cubed feta instead of a block.
With that in mind, I set out to make this again last night, as a sort of late snack, light dinner for Andrew and myself. I opted to serve it with Nigella Lawson‘s Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads, a focaccia-like flatbread that’s easy to make and goes with pretty much anything.
The original baked feta recipe called for tomato paste and chopped tomatoes, to which I added a few reconstituted sundried tomatoes. I love the intense, sweet flavour they impart, and look for an excuse to use them whenever possible. It also called for capers, which I’ve always hated (I don’t even understand what they are, nor do I want to know), so I subbed a squeeze of lemon juice. Because I couldn’t find any fresh oregano within ten minutes of my house, I gave up and used dried.
None of these additions or substitutions seemed to negatively affect the outcome of this dish. It turned out deliciously fresh and flavourful, and made a perfect dinner for a summer’s evening. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to try this. Whether or not you want to use the foil method is a moot point- just make it, you won’t regret it!
- Baked Feta and Tomatoes
- adapted from Olive magazine, via The Kitchn
- makes 2 small ramekins, each serving one person
- 3 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. tomato paste
100g feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
2 large cherry tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped roughly
3 sundried tomatoes, reconstituted in hot water and chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 tsp. lemon juice
pinch sea salt
- 1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of each ramekin, and add 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste to each as well. Using a silicone pastry brush, spread the oil and tomato paste around the bottom and sides of the ramekins, to coat.
2. Put a quarter of the crumbled feta in the bottom of each ramekin, and follow with a quarter of the red onion, chopped tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, garlic, oregano and chili flakes.
3. Repeat step 2, layering the remaining amounts of the same ingredients again. Over the top of each ramekin, drizzle the remaining olive oil and tomato paste, as well as the lemon juice. Finish each with a small pinch of sea salt and cover with foil.
4. Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving with fresh bread.
- Note: In lieu of individual ramekins, you could always make this in a small, covered baking dish.
- Parsley Hearthbreads
- adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
- makes one, serves two
- 250g plain flour
4g instant (easy-blend) yeast
1 tsp sea salt
3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup warm water
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
pinch sea salt
- 1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil and pour over the warm water. Using a spoon or a dough whisk, mix to form a smooth, workable dough.
2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about eight minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Lightly coat with olive oil and place in a clingfilm-covered bowl for about an hour, until doubled in size.
3. When the dough has risen, punch it down and leave to rest for another ten minutes. At this point, preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.
4. Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roll out to a 1/2″ thickness. Using your fingers, gently “dimple” the bread all over. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and brush with a pastry brush to ensure an even coating.
5. Cut the garlic in half and carefully rub the cut sides over the surface of the oiled dough. Sprinkle over the parsley and a pinch or two of sea salt, and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.