Feta became super famous lately after this recipe of baked feta pasta went insanely viral. Feta is the Greek cheese that can unleash your imagination in the kitchen. Here’s three classic Greek recipes with feta cheese to spark your appetite for Greek cooking!
1. Spicy feta oven-baked (Bouyiourdi)
Back from work hungry and worn out? Don’t turn to your phone this time for food delivery, coz we’ve got you covered! Here’s the easiest feta recipe of all, ready in only 20’.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Use a baking dish or just a sheet of baking paper wrapped with aluminium foil and place a block of feta in the middle (approx. 200g- wrap the edges if you use foil). Put on top 1-2 slices of tomatoes, 4-5 slices of green chilli peppers (green bell peppers alternatively). Sprinkle with just a pinch of salt, oregano, red chilli flakes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Bake till the vegetables are tender and the feta browns a bit.
2. Spicy feta dip (Tirokafteri)
Ok, we know, tzatziki rules.. But, which dip runs second in the rank of Greek traditional dips? It’s Tirokafteri. This creamy, tangy and spicy feta dip.
Add the following ingredients in a food processor:
* 250g feta cheese
* 150g Greek yoghurt
* 2-3 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
* 1 – 2 tbsps of white/red wine vinegar
* 2 red chillies
* a dash of paprika
Blend and keep it in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve with warm sourdough/pita bread or place it in a bowl next to your homemade chips.
3. Feta cheese wrapped in phyllo
For a wow moment in your kitchen, try this simple feta appetizer that combines the velvety creaminess of feta, together with layers of crunchy phyllo. You will need:
* 150-200g of feta, approx. 1,5 cm thick (barrel-aged feta recommended – if you can’t find this kind, go for the hard, not the soft variety)
* a sheet of phyllo pastry
Just fold the phyllo in two and wrap the feta in it, use water to stick the edges together. Fry in medium heat in a pan with olive oil – or vegetable oil, (enough to cover half of it and fry from both sides till golden brown). Serve your tasty parcels drizzled with honey and sesame seeds.
Feta is not only part of the Greek salad
Feta is one of the most versatile ingredients of Greek cooking and a flavour enhancer in many Greek recipes. So, aspiring home cooks, look further than just the white cheese in a Greek salad. Sprinkle on top of any baked vegetables or pulses and grill till it slightly melts and browns.
Add it in any recipe, instead of yellow hard cheese, to “greekalise” your food, whether it’s pizza, pasta, or just a toast. Eggplants, tomatoes, peppers are feta’s “besties” and extra virgin olive oil her eternal lover.
Bonus: Want to have a taste of Greek summer love? Grab a piece of sweet, juicy watermelon straight out of the fridge and serve it with tangy feta chunks.
Tip: Please buy a block of feta and not crumbled feta, which is convenient but lower in quality.
10 Feta Fun facts & Trivia:
* Say Feeta! Feta is a Greek curd white cheese, aged in brine, made exclusively from sheep’s milk or sheep’s and goat’s milk (up to 30%).
* But not any kind of sheep: Only from sheep and goat breeds traditionally grown in certain parts of Greece – not all of them.
* No cow’s milk is used. Watch out for imitations!
* Tales from Feta: First mentioned in the Odyssey, the way of making our national cheese hasn’t changed a lot. The famous cheesemaker of the story was the giant Cyclops Polyphemus.
* A feta of feta!? Feta in Greek means slice, as it is cut into slices to be aged in barrels or tins for at least 2 months.
* Just like wine. The tastiest feta is considered the one aging in barrels, due to its special, rich taste.
* The Feta Wars: Feta became a Greek PDO – Protected Designation of Origin- product not before 2002, ending a long conflict with other EU countries who wanted to keep feta as a name for their white cheeses (eg danish feta).
* But what happens outside the EU? Well, it depends on the agreement signed with each country. Eg, Canada makes feta as well, but after a new agreement signed between the two countries, new producers cannot label their cheeses as feta anymore. Australia and the US are on the way, but still resist on giving up such a popular brand name. Can’t blame them!
* Drives the economy. Feta accounts for around 70% of Greek cheese exports and some 300,000 farmers make a living out of it.
* No whey! Greeks come third as the biggest consumers of cheese, because of… feta, 12kg per person per year.