In her new cookbook, author Virginia Willis says that, like Georgia's Vidalia onions or French champagne, true feta is made in Greece. That said, more local farms are producing their own versions of feta-like sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. Whatever you use for this recipe, make sure it is treated to the best-quality olive oil you can find.
Make Ahead: The cheese needs to marinate for at least 1 day and up to 1 week.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 1 pound feta cheese, drained, patted dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 1/2 cups best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
- About 10 large leaves basil, chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
Place the feta in a resealable airtight container or glass jar.
Combine the cumin and coriander seeds and the crushed red pepper flakes in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for about 1 minute, shaking, so the mixture becomes fragrant. Remove from the heat, then transfer the spice mixture to the center of a piece of cheesecloth and fold or wrap so the spice mixture stays within. Add to the feta in the container or jar, along with the orange zest and oil, then add the basil, rosemary and bay leaves. Stir gently to distribute among the cheese cubes. If the cheese isn't covered by the oil, add just enough to cover.
Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving; serve drizzled with a little of the oil, if desired. Discard the oil and the herbs/spices once all of the cheese has been consumed.
Adapted from Willis's "Basic to Brilliant, Y'all" (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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