In The Dominion Post’s ongoing Wednesday feature, Quarantine Kitchen, we highlight dishes prepared by readers, staffers, wire services and chefs at our local restaurants in an effort to keep us connected through food.
This week, we decided to try a recipe that’s been all over the internet recently — gaining popularity on TikTok and going on to be featured on home pages like Yahoo! and others.
That’s right — the ubiquitous baked feta with tomatoes.
The claims are true — and tasty. This recipe is about as simple as they come, uses only a few ingredients, and easily feeds a family. Or a single person for several nights. What’s nice is it’s also a snap to make, more or less, depending on your needs.
Put simply, you’ll need a block of feta cheese (though crumbles will work, if the store is out of blocks — we actually had to use crumbles here), some fresh basil, cherry or grape tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and some salt and pepper.
Depending on your desired delivery system, you will also need some pasta, good bread or crackers, or just a spoon (don’t worry, no one needs to know).
If you use pasta, be sure to save some of the starchy water, to thin the cheese and tomatoes into the consistency of sauce you like. Otherwise, it’s thick enough to use as a spread or dip. It would work wonderfully on a grilled cheese or panini sandwich.
BAKED FETA AND TOMATOES
- 2 containers cherry tomatoes
- 8-ounce block of feta cheese (or 8 ounces crumbles)
- Several leaves fresh basil, torn
- Couple cloves of garlic, chopped fine or grated
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a baking dish, coat your tomatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the feta in the center. It’s best to use a dish that will allow it all to fit snugly, with the tomatoes touching. Drizzle with more olive oil and pop into the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the feta starts to brown and the tomatoes burst. Crank the oven to 450 and bake for another 5-10 minutes or so, until you get a bit more browning on the cheese and the tomatoes get nice and caramelized on some of the sides.
Remove from oven and break up the cheese, mixing it all together.
Stir in your garlic, basil and pepper flake, and mix in your cooked pasta, if you’re using it. Use the reserved starchy water to thin the sauce how you like it.
Otherwise, spread it on bread, crackers, or break out that spoon.