Raise your hand if your weekly grocery run involves more than a few stops. For me, it’s Sigona’s for produce, Robert’s for meat, Trader Joe’s for some favorite items and Safeway for other things. This doesn’t include the stops at the Asian market and the Latin market when the pantry is running low on staples. And let’s not forget Target where I can easily spend an afternoon just browsing the aisles. Admittedly, I sometimes take a shortcut and skip one or two of the stores, foregoing some items on my list just to make shopping a bit easier but there are some items my husband and I can’t go without. For me it’s Barry’s Irish black tea that is sold at Draeger’s and for my husband it’s Pavel’s yogurt, coffee from Peet’s, Acme baguettes (3x/week) from Robert’s or Whole Foods and these days, French feta, also from Robert’s.
Last week was a busy one and I was feeling under the weather so I took one of those aforementioned shortcuts. I forgot to pick up a block of our favorite feta and I had already been to Robert’s so I grabbed one I was unfamiliar with and promptly regretted it as soon as I got home. The cow’s milk feta I bought was saltier and more pungent than the milder, creamier sheep’s milk variety we’ve grown accustomed to. My husband cut a chunk of it for a spinach salad but when I noticed most of it still uneaten by the end of the week, I knew I’d have to figure out what to do with it or the cheese would end up going to waste.
As with most foods that need rescuing taste-wise, the feta improved with the help of lemon, olive oil and herbs. I cut the cheese in cubes, marinated it in the lemon/olive oil/herb mixture for a few hours et voilà! The marinade mellowed the overpowering qualities of the feta and benefitted from the addition of herbs and hint of spice. Even my husband who flatly rejected the cheese at first taste a week ago changed his tune after tasting the marinated version this afternoon. “I could eat a whole bowl of this,” he said.
A few hours in the refrigerator did the trick but I would imagine that marinating the cheese longer would be even better. The bowl of cheese, which my husband was generous to share with me, ended up the highlight of this afternoon’s wine o’clock menu.
- 6-8 ounces feta cheese, cubed
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- 1 or two dried chilies (or you can use chili flakes, to taste)
- Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl until emulsified then stir in the lemon zest, herbs and chilies. Add the cubed feta and toss until all the pieces are covered in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.