After years of ignoring fresh oregano, I've suddenly become addicted. The piney flavor is intense and wonderful. Close your eyes while you chew on a leaf and you'll be transported into the middle of a forest right after it rains. In this recipe, feta, fresh oregano, lemon zest and red pepper flakes are drowned in olive oil and mashed into a spread that you'll always want to have in your refrigerator.
Apply the feta cheese spread liberally to baguette slices and crackers. Use it as an extra topping for pizza. Put it on toast in the morning with slices of tomato.
Lemon and Thyme Marinated Feta
Goat Cheese Marinated in Olive Oil and Herbs
Goat Cheese with Dried French Herbs
4 ounces feta (about 1 cup, crumbled)
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh oregano
Zest from ½ a lemon
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes1/3 to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a bowl, use a fork to mash together the feta, oregano, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Scrape the mixture into a small jar and pour olive oil on top.
This feta spread tastes best after it's been refrigerated for at least day, so the flavors have time to meld.
In a jar, or other container with a lid, this feta spread will keep for several weeks.
Types of Feta Cheese
You'll encounter many different types of feta cheese at the store. Although it's difficult to generalize, the descriptions below give an introduction to feta from various countries and what it might taste like. Really, though, you've got to buy and try feta to know which is your favorite.
- French Feta: Usually made with excess sheep's milk that is not used for making Roquefort, French Feta is typically mild and creamy. Some goats' milk Feta is also made in France and can be slightly drier and tangier.
- Bulgarian Feta: Made from sheep's milk. Creamier texture, usually less salty. Sometimes it has a little bit of a grassy or "sheepy" flavor mixed in with a yeasty, tangy finish.
- Greek Feta: Made from at least 70% sheep's milk, often with a little goats' milk blended in. Salty and tangy, usually rich and creamy, although versions with more goats' milk tend to be drier.
- Israeli Feta: Full-flavored, creamy, and usually not overly salty Feta made from sheep's milk.
- American Feta: Can be made with sheep, goat or even cows' milk. Usually the predominant flavor is tangy or lemony and the texture is less creamy and more crumbly.
Storing Feta at Home
Feta is a hardy cheese and lasts for weeks, or more, in the refrigerator. Ideally, feta should be submerged in brine, which keeps it moist and fresh. You can make your own brine by mixing water with a little bit of salt. Or, if the feta is too salty, adding milk to the brine helps cut the salty and sharp flavors of the cheese. However, this type of brine should not be used for long-term storage.