Anticip…ation

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…

13 Replies to “Anticip…ation”

  1. Oh goodness, that looks so good. Did you just leave it on the counter? I know olive oil doesn’t take well to the fridge.

  2. Have to share: I pulled this up to show Ian, and he’s extremely impressed with your food photography. (As am I. The color in that olive is gorgeous.)

  3. Hi Jill — I did refrigerate it because there’s no way I could eat this amount of cheese in a week or so, and I’d worry that any other storage area wouldn’t be cool enough. From what I’ve read, olive oil can turn cloudy in the fridge, but that didn’t seem to happen here.

    Jess — thanks so much! It’s a constant struggle to get decent natural light in our dark house, so I always try to make something in the middle of a weekend day just to get a few decent pictures.

  4. evoo can become cloudy in the fridge but it definitely keeps it preserved for longer periods of time, i bought an enormo jug of evoo and half of it went straight to the fridge and it tastes just as fresh as the day i bought it, it gets strange- cloudy, solidified, yellow tinted- but give it 10-15 minutes room temperature and it’s good as it was before

  5. Thanks for the advice, Christine! We go through so much olive oil around here that I never have a chance for it to go bad, but I’ll keep this in mind if I ever hit a sale and stock up.

  6. a little tip olive oil when its pure turns solid in the cold that’s how you know its not blended with other oils. Good olive oil does not turn bad in room temperature for months and months I bring mine from Greece and I have it year round and its still as good as the first day.
    and whatever you cover with olive oil it does not go bad only after it gets exposed to the air

  7. I forgot you recipe looks yummy I will make some today with some Greek feta my favorite thanks you for posting it!!

  8. Yes, it uses a lot of olive oil, but I will also try to use the oil in other recipes, and consider it a home-seasoned ingredient (inspecting it first by sight, flavor, and taste to make sure it’s not “off”).
    Love your blog, just found you on Pinterest and glad I did! Cheers.

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