How was your 4th of July Holiday? Ours was great! For the first time in a long while my husband and I decided to celebrate the holiday in a little bit more low key of a fashion than years past. This is tough for me cause I love to pack my schedule as much as possible, ensuring that I hit all of the events that we have been invited too. This running around often leads to me feeling relatively wiped out by the end of the day, and often needing to gear up for a regular work day immediately the next morning. This year though the universe treated us to a 4th of July on a Saturday which for me meant two magical days off! Hooray!
While I actually spent very little time over the holiday weekend in the kitchen I did take about five minutes to put this baked feta cheese appetizer together and I am so glad I did.
This appetizer is perfect for those nights when you want a special treat but are feeling a touch lazy. All you need is a slab of feta, some olive oil and all – or some – these tasty flavor boosters: Bell peppers, red onions, dried oregano (greek if you can get it), crushed red pepper flakes and kalamata olives.
Putting this all together is about as easy as it gets – and it should be it’s summer!! It’s my vow to try to keep things as simple and carefree as possible. All you will do is layer the ingredients on a piece of tin foil, cheese first and then everything else. Wrap it all up nice and tight and now comes the EASIEST part, cooking it! This can be down one of two ways, you can either toss it onto your grill which is already nice a toasty since you are most likely cooking up some burgers and hot dogs, or, you can bake it in your oven. The choice is yours, but if you are trying to keep things cool indoors, tossing it on the grill is epically awesome!
When it comes off of the grill the cheese is soft and creamy, the vegetables soft enough to slice right through, and the olive oil, oregano and red pepper flakes become one with the cheese. It is so good. The first time I had this rustic style appetizer I was on vacation in Greece. We had been out on a yacht celebrating a dear friends upcoming wedding and she her fiancé treated all the guests to a special lunch be the sea. This was one of the first of many dishes to hit the table and I still remember it as though it were yesterday.
Summer is a time to create memories, many of which come out of a great meal. For me this feta appetizer will always remind me of Christina’s wedding and I love it even more because of that. I hope that you are well on your way to creating some great memories of your own this summer
Baked Feta Cheese Appetizer
1 Thick Slice Feta Cheese, about 4 oz.
1 1/2 Tsp. Crushed Dried Oregano
1 – 1 1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Round Slices of Bell Pepper, seeds removed (whatever color you like)
2 Thin Slices Red Onion, separated into rings
10 – 12 Kalamata Olives, pitted and sliced in half
Crusty Bread or Crackers For Serving
Preheat oven or your grill 400⁰F.
While the oven or grill are heating up prepare the rest of your ingredients. First, slice the feta cheese into a nice thick slice and place it in the center of a large square of tin foil. Slice the other veggies. Next sprinkle the feta cheese with 2/3 of the oregano and 2/3 of the red pepper flakes. Then layer the peppers, onions and olives over the cheese, drizzle it all with olive oil and last but not least sprinkle it all with the remaining oregano and red pepper flakes.
Once you have topped the cheese with all of the ingredients tightly wrap the cheese up in the tin foil by bringing the left and right sides towards the center of the cheese and folding them together. Finish it up by bringing the two remaining sides together, rolling it down and creating a tight seal.
Now you will place the tin foil packet directly onto the grill grates, or place it on a baking sheet if you are baking it in the oven. Be sure that the side of the feta packet with the seam is facing up so that the juices don’t drip out as it’s cooking. After about 15 or 20 minutes take the cheese off of the grill or out of the oven, place it on a small plate and open up the tin foil package.
It will be a little steamy at first but once that subsides you will find perfectly soft feta topped with the gently wilted vegetables. Eat this right away on crusty bread, as it’s heavenly right out of the heat, but also, you will find that after about 20 to 30 minutes the cheese begins to cool and it will once again begin to harden, so it’s best to dig into this right away!