Herb-marinated feta cheese with za’tar-toasted pita triangles
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 as an appetizer
Note: Za’tar is a Middle Eastern spice blend commonly consisting of thyme, toasted sesame seeds, marjoram and sumac. It is generally available at Middle Eastern markets and select gourmet and cooking supply stores.
Za’tar toasted pita triangles
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2 pita breads, preferably whole wheat
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons za’tar spice mixture
Coarse sea or kosher salt, to taste
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each pita into quarters, and halve each quarter to make 8 triangles. Peel each triangle in half to make 16 triangles from each pita. Place the triangles on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and garlic. Brush each triangle with the mixture, then sprinkle over the za’tar mixture and a pinch of salt.
3. Bake the triangles until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
Marinated feta and assembly
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
8 ounces goat, sheep or cow milk feta cheese
6 fresh basil or sage leaves, torn in half
Prepared pita triangles
1. Make the marinade: In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, fennel seeds, garlic, black peppercorns, rosemary and pink peppercorns. Heat the mixture over low heat for 5 minutes to infuse the flavors, being careful that the mixture does not scorch. Remove from heat.
2. While the marinade is cooking, prepare the feta: Cut the feta into cubes, or halve the cheese lengthwise and then cut into 2- by one-half inch rectangles. Place the cheese in a serving dish.
3. Stir the basil leaves into the marinade and pour the marinade over the cheese. Serve with the pita triangles on the side.
Each of 6 servings: 319 calories; 8 grams protein; 12 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 28 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 34 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 503 mg sodium.