Last week, I paid another early-morning visit to Buon Italia for the express purpose of buying my weight in cheese. Naturally, pork products leaped into my basket as well (insistent little buggers, they are), but the primary purpose of this trip was loading up on cheese, glorious cheese, because one of the recipes at the top of my weekend to-do list was marinated feta, inspired by this David Lebovitz post.
It seems to be a pretty simple recipe, open to any number of variations. French feta was available at Buon Italia, so that’s what I used here, but once Corrado’s Family Affair opens its Wayne branch, you can bet I’ll be up to my ears in Bulgarian feta, my favorite. I kept the flavorings to a minimum for this first batch, though you can really let your creativity shine. My thyme plant is one of the few herbs that produced for me this summer, so I gathered about 10-15 sprigs and layered them in a large glass jar with the cubed feta (about 1 1/2-inch pieces), a couple of sage leaves from a less prolific herb plant, a few thin strips of lemon zest, dried oregano, lots of red pepper flakes, black pepper, and a couple of small bay leaves. (Because it’s a simple thing to grow your very own jar of botulism when storing garlic in olive oil, I avoided adding it to the blend.)
Oh, did I forget to mention the olive oil?
Yeah, this recipe uses a lot of it, so I went with my basic everyday stuff — Colavita extra virgin — instead of a good finishing oil. It’s exceptionally fruity, very affordable, available at my local grocery, and comes with Lidia’s stamp of approval — what more could I want?
This marinated feta holds the promise of getting better with age, but will I be able to resist its siren song long enough to find out?
You see, I have plans for this stuff. While tomatoes are still in season, they’re demanding a date with the feta. Then there’s grilled pizza, perhaps a nice spinach pie with roasted garlic, and of course, sampling it straight from the jar.
But for now, the feta marinates…