If reading two such words together sends a tingle up your spine as it does mine, then meet your new favorite recipe.
Too commonly relegated to playing supporting salad roles, feta--especially a quality sheep's milk feta from Greece--can steal the show given the opportunity.
Draped in a fully adaptable frock of lemon zest, garlic, sumac, aleppo pepper, dried marjoram, and olive oil, this is its before shot, because, really, no one should have to wait for warm cheese to have its picture taken.
After a short bask in the oven, its surface browns, its shoulders drop, its flavor deepens, and, well, this is your fantasy now.
- one 8-oz piece imported feta, patted dry
- zest from one lemon
- two cloves garlic, microplaned
- 1/2 tsp. sumac, cumin, coriander, za'atar, or ras el hanout
- pinch aleppo pepper, crushed red pepper, or cayenne
- 1 tsp. dried marjoram or oregano; or the leaves from five fresh sprigs
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the feta in the center of an oven-proof dish. In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and spread atop feta.
Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, depending on your ability to delay gratification.
I like to eat it with warm pita and some form of couscous (Moroccan or Israeli) brimming with sliced red onion, sweet peppers, kalamata olives, cucumbers, avocado, etc.--dressed with the juice of that scalped lemon, a squeeze of honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. But again, this is your happy ending.