This morning I’m departing on an adventure into Arkansas. For those of you who consider that to be an oxymoron, I should add that my traveling companion is Dick Levinson, old friend and erudite history buff. We’re starting at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, then heading to Clinton’s birthplace in Hope, and when we return I will know more about Bill Clinton than I ever, ever wanted to know.
Don’t hate me because I’m a world traveler.
Before I leave for the hinterlands, I have to share with you a Mediterranean recipe that blew our socks off last night. I saw it here, on smitten kitchen.com. It’s what I would describe as the perfect appetizer: it goes together in a flash, bakes for just 15 minutes and makes for a spectacular presentation that you can serve with either bread or crackers.
Baked Feta and Tomatoes will henceforth be in my regular repertoire.
I added more tomatoes than was originally called for, and sprinkled on some fresh lemon juice just before serving, to balance the flavors. We ate it as part of a casual outdoor dinner with roast chicken and fresh sourdough bread. The combination of textures and flavors was a revelation. Delicious.
Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives, pitted 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 thinly sliced red onion 2 T. finely chopped parsley, divided 1 t. dried oregano (I left this out) 1 T. olive oil Freshly ground black pepper 1 8 to 10-oz. block feta cheese (I used a French feta, which is creamier than the domestic brands) Fresh lemon juice
In a medium bowl mix together the tomatoes, olives, garlic, onion, 1 T. of the parsley, oregano and olive oil. Pour the mixture over the block of feta in a flameproof baking dish.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to caramelize and the feta is soft. (It won’t melt.) You can also bake this on a covered grill if you’re cooking outside.
Before serving, sprinkle on remaining parsley and a splash of fresh lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with either french bread or crisp flatbread.