THE fine showing of sunny weather last week not only brought out the familiar aromas of steaks and fresh seafood grilled on the BBQ, but an old favourite of mine was making an appearance on the table too.
I ducked into my favourite food import shop to gather ingredients for my BBQ and straight away spotted the marinated feta cheese destined for my salad.
This creamy, firm, white cheese made traditionally from ewe’s milk but more commonly now from cow’s milk is one of the most widely used cheeses in the world (it’s even produced from buffalo and goat’s milk now too). First made in Greece centuries ago, many countries have adopted the cheese making method and Australia is one of the leading makers of this fine cheese.
This cheese is a top choice when the weather and the friends arrive for a BBQ. Feta can be used in so many ways: either grilled, marinated with olives, used in sweet pastries, baked in pies, crumbled, pureed into a spread, the list is endless. That’s why I always have a couple of jars marinating in the fridge.
Feta will hold it’s own in so many dishes. Whether you choose to marry it with an aged balsamic vinegar or serve tossed in a spinach salad with grilled rosemary lamb cutlets from the BBQ, you won’t be disappointed. The freshness this cheese adds to salads is always memorable, and is even great just tossed in with a handful of beans, peas and fresh mint with a lug of top quality olive oil.
I am going to share a simple feta recipe for your next BBQ that will have your mates reaching for more. This recipe is in two stages, marinating the feta days before or you can buy marinated feta instead.
Any other feta cheese recipes you may have, please tweet me @chrisarkonfood. Happy cooking and enjoy.
Grilled asparagus with black olives and marinated feta
What you need:
1 bunch of English green asparagus
Top quality olive oil
Black pepper mill
Aged balsamic vinegar
Handful of black olives
1 block of good quality feta
1 sprig of Thyme
1 sprig of Rosemary
Pinch of whole black peppercorns
1 clove of fresh garlic
For marinating the feta:
Remove the feta from the brine and pat dry
Dice the feta into 2cm x 2cm cubes
Place the cubes into a spring lock jar
Toss in the herbs and peppercorns
Fill the jar with the olive oil
Place the jar in the fridge, which will keep for one month
For the salad:
Toss the asparagus in olive oil and place on a hot char grill or BBQ until lightly grilled.
Remove and place on a large platter.
Throw the feta and olives together and mix well.
Scatter the mixture over the asparagus and drizzle olive oil over the salad. Season with sea salt and add a few splashes of balsamic to finish.