Warm feta marinated in olive oil

Too hot to cook recently, so this week’s recipe involves marination, and minimal heat. Goat’s cheese is often marinated. But we used the appealing, not-too-sharp feta brought by the Farm Institute — a feta even non-feta-eaters can love. The cheese is sold as a neat cake floating in a container of water. Drain the cake and, for this recipe, slice it across the middle, into two halves. You’ll need just one of the halves (unless you double the recipe below.) Serve the marinated cheese with grilled/toasted bread and cool drinks on a torpid night. Of course, by Thursday, we may be wearing sweaters indoors….

Warm feta marinated in olive oil

Half a feta cheese (from Farm Institute table)
zest from half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed and dried
¼ (quarter) teaspoon black peppercorns
pinch of red chili flakes
half a cup or more olive oil, not too pungent
lightly toasted or grilled bread, e.g. baguette rounds

Drain cheese, pat dry and halve horizontally. Use just one half (unless doubling recipe.) Put cheese in a small ovenproof dish, not much wider than the cheese, but at least as high; add oil to come halfway up cheese. Pare strips of yellow zest from half a lemon. Lightly bash garlic to bruise cloves. Add lemon zest, garlic, thyme, peppercorns and chili to the oil around the cheese. Cover dish with saucer or plastic wrap and marinate for 1 hour, uncovering a couple of times to carefully flip the cheese. Slide dish with cheese onto a baking tray, and bake in a pre-heated 400F oven, about 10 minutes, until cheese softens slightly, oil is very hot, and your kitchen is filled with Mediterranean aromas. Switch off oven, wait a few minutes. Extract dish from oven using mitts and care. Cool, spooning oil over the top of the cheese, and serve warm (not hot) spooned onto toasted bread to catch the flavored oil. For 2-3.

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