Fun with Feta

Oh commenters, you complete me. I did a post last week called Summer Food where I asked you, my readers, what foods really capture the summer season. The responses were great, but one stuck out in my head as I made my way to the grocery store this weekend. That was KatyBelle’s. She said, “Anything vaguely Mediteranian or involving Feta cheese basically” and went on to praise watermelon with Feta and a Greek pasta salad also with feta. Well look what I made this weekend:

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That’s hummus on the left–you blitz chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in the food processor (the recipe’s on Epicurious: the trick is to reserve the chickpea liquid and then to add it at the end until the hummus is smooth and creamy (which, come to think of it, was another tip from a reader from the last time I made hummus))–and, on the right, watermelon and feta salad. I just bought a watermelon already cut up and cut smaller it into nice squares. I tossed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, some slivers of onion and, of course, Feta. It tasted great and only now do I realize what it’s missing: mint. I made it with mint once before and that was over the top.

The next day I put the Feta to more good use (do you prefer it when I capitalize or leave uncapitalized “feta” ?) when I improvised this pasta salad:

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It’s sort of based on a Mario Batali dish I made last year, only this time I used cherry tomatoes and I used penne. Essentially, you chop up some garlic and throw it in a bowl with lots of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, and pepper and, if you’d like, some red chile flakes. Then you take a carton of cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) cut them in half and throw them in with everything else. I added a splash of red wine vinegar and I added even more later: do it to taste. You also add some chopped up some parsley but you could use basil or any other herb you enjoy. And that’s basically it. You cook the pasta until just al dente then drain and add to this bowl. And then, of course, you top it with Feta. A simple, easy, and terrific summer dinner. Thanks KatyBelle! You and Feta are my new best friends.

10 comments

  1. Oh yeah, feta, yum… I used to pull it out of my Greek salads because it was too salty. I recommend the Israeli sheeps’-milk feta you can get at Trader Joe’s. It’s creamy and not too salty.

    Feta with watermelon is my new summer staple. I drizzle with a little olive oil, grind on some black pepper, and throw in some shredded basil.

  2. For creamy hummus (and a touch of insanity) you can “peel” the garbanzos before you puree them. I tried it once and found the result to be very smooth and creamy but I would not go to such lengths for everyday hummus.

  3. First of all, I love how today we get a triple dose of blog entries!

    On to the feta, Greek food is the best! One of my favorite meals in the world is greek chicken (marinated with herbs, olive oil, and lots of lemon) served with rice, feta cheese, greek yoghurt, and some more lemon! I had it at a friend’s and I can’t stop thinking about the feta cheese and greek yoghurt. Mmmm…

    Watermelon combination looks wonderful! Nice job Katybelle (and Adam)!

  4. Mmm…a feta/watermelon salad is something I literally eat every day from July to September. I use good goat feta, which is firmer and a little less salty. Red onion, lime juice and instead of mint, I go for cilantro. Awesome.

  5. I love feta with all my heart and soul. I am about to make Nigella’s FANTASTIC Greek salad (addicting, the fennel is great) topped with some sheep feta.

    I loved Nigella’s watermelon-feta salad so much (she adds lime-steeped red onion, olives, mint, parsley and olive oil) that I had to make it two days in a row. DELICIOUS.

  6. It all looks awesome. I still haven’t tried the watermelon/feta combo yet, but I keep hearing such great reviews. Perhaps that will be lunch tomorrow.

    I’ve been living off of a similar penne salad this summer. I add arugula rather than basil or parsley.

  7. Thanks for the shout-out Adam!! I’m glad I inspired some yumminess for you!

  8. A watermelon and cheese (I believe it was feta) salad was recently featured on the Traveller’s Lunchbox – its so interesting how rapidfire food trends (especially particularly imaginative ones) can travel. Do you remember that summer 3 years ago when everyone was sticking beercans up the butts of chickens?

    Anyways – I say proliferate deliciousness whatever the method :)

    B

    Hand to Mouth

    Making Stock of the Situation

    A blog for penniless gourmets

  9. Try adding some cumin to the hummus, too; it’s a super-tasty addition!

    Just had that watermelon/feta/onion/minty salad for dinner, VERY nice. Just had some rice w/ raw veggies on the side, perfect summer eats.

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