Spiced Feta in Olive Oil


Here’s another recipe from a cookbook we’ve been flipping through. It gave us the Adobo-Smothered Chicken Wings, and it’s called Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, and Fish by Diana Henry.

It’s a beautiful book with several new-to-us ideas that we haven’t tried in the kitchen. I’ve heard Henry interviewed on The Splendid Table several times, and there’s Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s endorsement right on the front of the book. The recipes are relaxed, and this one for a marinated and spiced feta is a quick one to pull together.




Fennel seeds are crushed along with both black and white peppercorns. Olive oil soaks up freshly squeezed lemon juice, thyme, and dried red chili flakes. Pour everything over the chunks of feta.

This was our snack one night as we waited for dinner to finish cooking. The colors and the spices made for a vibrant and different way to eat cheese, which we really enjoyed. Serve up with toasted bread or pita chips and break out the beer. Your appetizer’s ready.


spiced feta with olive oil

This is a quick, easy appetizer to throw together before people come over. The crumbles of feta  in olive oil and crushed spices are great with crostini or pita chips. We also mixed it into a farro salad one time and enjoyed that, too. Though this recipe is intended to be preserved and keep in the fridge for a while, I preferred it fresh and would probably only continue to serve it the day it’s made. 

3/4 cup olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
9 ounces feta cheese, broken into chunks

In a pint-size jar, gently stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme and chili flakes. Do not shake to combine.

Put the fennel seeds and both types of peppercorns in a mortar and crush lightly with a pestle. You just want to bruise and partially break the whole spices. Then add them to the jar with olive oil.

Arrange chunks of feta on a shallow plate, and pour the spiced oil mixture over the cheese. Serve with toasted bread or pita chips. To store the spiced feta mixture, keep mixture in a sterilized jar for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, making sure the cheese is always covered by oil.

Makes enough to fill 1 pint jar. Recipe from Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, and Fish by Diana Henry.



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