I have always loved the activity of having people over, feeding them them too many things, entertaining them and keeping their glass full. But I have also always put a lot of stress on myself to get it ‘perfect’.
This usually results in weeks of planning, nightmares of burnt crostini and day-of tears when things don’t go as planned.
Lately I have been developing recipes and techniques for entertaining that involve minimal day-of prep and stress, with the hopes of freeing up the fun time for well, actual fun.
This heavenly baked feta dip or ‘meze’ plate, is perfect for sharing, snacking and nibbling. Which is really ideal for the Holiday season where “Come over, and bring an appetizer” is requested more often then not, and we’re gathering around delicious food quite a bit.
I hope this baked feta brings you as much satisfaction as it does me. After a minutes of prep here and there, it pretty much makes itself, into a warm, briny, soft, lemony, salty delicious spread on crackers or bread. In the photos I served this with some seedy crackers, but guests responded well to a multigrain ciabatta that soaked up all of the savoury olive oil/tomato juices (duh).
- 7 oz goat or sheep feta cheese
- 5 oz/ 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 oz/ 1/2 cup artichoke hearts (the jarred kind)
- 1.5 oz/ 1/4 cup Moroccan sun-dried olives (or kalamata olives)
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 large clove of garlic, smashed then chopped finely
- 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
- black pepper.
- Fresh parsley, fresh oregano, etc
- To serve: pita chips, crusty bread, crackers, etc
- Preheat the oven to a high broil.
- On a foil lined sheet, add your tomatoes and drizzle with a bit of oil. Toss to coat. Broil for 4-6 min, until they just start to shrink down and blacken up on the edges.
- Lower the heat to 400 F.
- In an oven safe dish, place the feta cheese slices and scatter the artichokes, olives, capers, broiled tomatoes and garlic.
- Sprinkle the lemon zest and fresh parsley or favourite herbs. Crack a generous amount of black pepper and glug on more olive oil then you think you'll need. (up to 1/4 cup)
- Bake for 10- 15 min, until the cheese is softened and the veggies are silky soft and charred in parts.
- Serve right away and squeeze the juice from 1/2 the lemon over.
- The cheese will harden up as it cools, but softens again quickly if you pop it back in the oven.
This could definitely be prepared and marinated overnight so you can pop it in the oven the next day for company. Just save baking it until the very last minute so the texture and warmth sticks around for serving.