Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Are you searching for a simple yet sophisticated dish that will impress your guests with its burst of Mediterranean flavors? Look no further than this delightful Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe. This dish is not only visually appealing but also packs a punch with its rich combination of salty, tangy, and savory flavors. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, looking for a new appetizer, or simply want to add a touch of the Mediterranean to your meal, this recipe is perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (200g) of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of mixed olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil or parsley for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat Your Oven:
    Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C). This high temperature is crucial for achieving a beautifully browned and bubbly feta.
  2. Prepare the Feta:
    Take a block of feta cheese and place it in the center of a small baking dish. The size of the dish should be just enough to hold the feta and the toppings snugly, ensuring that the flavors meld together beautifully.
  3. Add the Toppings:
    Scatter the pitted olives and chopped sun-dried tomatoes around and on top of the feta block. These ingredients not only add a burst of flavor but also beautiful colors that make the dish visually appealing.
  4. Season and Drizzle:
    Sprinkle the dried oregano and red pepper flakes over the cheese and toppings. These spices add a layer of complexity to the dish’s flavor profile. Drizzle everything generously with extra virgin olive oil, which will help crisp up the cheese and meld the flavors together in the oven.
  5. Bake to Perfection:
    Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the feta is soft to the touch and slightly golden. The high heat will help the cheese absorb all the delicious flavors from the toppings.
  6. Garnish and Serve:
    Once out of the oven, let the dish cool slightly. Then, garnish with fresh basil or parsley to add a fresh, herbal note that contrasts the richness of the baked feta.
  7. Enjoy:
    Serve this dish warm with crusty bread, crostini, or as part of a larger Mediterranean spread. It’s perfect for scooping up with bread and enjoying every last bite.

Why Try This Recipe?

Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes is not just easy to prepare but also offers various health benefits. Feta cheese is rich in calcium and contains beneficial bacteria that can aid in digestion. Olives are a great source of Vitamin E and antioxidants, while sun-dried tomatoes are packed with lycopene, another powerful antioxidant.

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Moreover, this recipe is highly adaptable. Feel free to add other ingredients such as capers, roasted red peppers, or even a sprinkle of lemon zest for an added zing. You can also adjust the spiciness to your taste by increasing or decreasing the amount of red pepper flakes.

Conclusion

This Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe is a testament to the simplicity and elegance of Mediterranean cooking. With minimal prep and cooking time, this dish is an excellent choice for those seeking a flavorful and healthy option. Try it today and bring a taste of the Mediterranean to your table!

Serving and Storage Tips for Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

After mastering the art of making Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes, knowing how to serve and store this Mediterranean delight can enhance your experience and maintain the dish’s optimal flavors. Here are some practical tips for serving and storing this flavorful appetizer:

Serving Tips:

  1. Serve Warm: This dish is best served warm. The warmth accentuates the creamy texture of the feta and makes the dish more comforting. If it has cooled down, consider reheating it briefly in the oven before serving.
  2. Pairing: Baked feta pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides. Serve it with slices of crusty bread, pita, or crostini for dipping. It also works well as part of a larger spread, including fresh vegetables, hummus, or other Mediterranean salads.
  3. Garnishing: Just before serving, add fresh herbs such as basil or parsley. Not only do they add a burst of freshness, but they also provide a nice color contrast. A drizzle of high-quality olive oil or a squeeze of lemon juice can also brighten up the flavors.
  4. Wine Pairing: Complement this dish with a glass of crisp white wine. A Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Rosé enhances the salty and tangy flavors of the feta and olives beautifully.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: If you have leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or transfer the contents to an airtight container. Properly stored, the baked feta dish will last for 2-3 days.
  2. Reheating: To reheat, place the leftovers in an oven-safe dish and warm in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Avoid microwaving, as it can change the texture of the feta, making it rubbery.
  3. Do Not Freeze: Freezing is not recommended for this dish. Feta cheese can become crumbly and lose its smooth texture when frozen and then thawed.
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By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes remains a delightful treat, capturing the essence of Mediterranean flavors whether enjoyed fresh or as a leftover. Enjoy the blend of flavors and the ease of preparation that makes this dish a perfect choice for both casual and sophisticated gatherings.

1. Can I use a different type of cheese for this recipe?
Yes, you can substitute feta cheese with another type if you prefer. Halloumi is a good option as it also holds its shape well when baked. Another alternative is goat cheese, which offers a creamy texture and a tangy flavor that complements the olives and sun-dried tomatoes nicely. Keep in mind that different cheeses may alter the flavor profile and cooking time of the dish.

2. Are there any specific olives that work best in this recipe?
You can use any type of olive that you enjoy. Kalamata olives are a popular choice due to their rich flavor and meaty texture, which pair well with the creamy feta. However, a mix of green and black olives can also add a nice variety of flavors and colors to the dish. Pitted olives are preferable for ease of eating.

3. What are some recommended side dishes to serve with Baked Feta?
Baked Feta with Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes goes well with a variety of sides. For a light meal, serve it alongside a fresh salad like a Greek salad or a cucumber and tomato salad. For a heartier meal, pair it with roasted vegetables or a grain dish such as quinoa or couscous. It also makes an excellent topping for freshly toasted bread or incorporated into a pasta dish.

4. How can I make this recipe vegan?
To make a vegan version of this dish, you can substitute the feta cheese with a block of your favorite vegan cheese that can withstand baking without melting away. Vegan feta options are increasingly available and many mimic the texture and tanginess of traditional feta quite well. Additionally, ensure that the sun-dried tomatoes and olives are not prepared with any animal-based products, which is sometimes the case.

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