Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marinated Feta and Olives

You've probably seen marinated feta cheese and olives on salad bars. Maybe you've even bought it. It makes a great quick addition to salads, or served with crackers or some crusty bread for dipping.

Why not assemble your own, though? It's simple to do, and you can customize the herbs to your taste and add extra ingredients to make the mix your own special combination.

This keeps well in the refrigerator, but keep in mind that good olive oil will get thick and cloudy at cold temperatures. This doesn't hurt the oil or the other ingredients, but you'll want to pull this out of the refrigerator to warm to room temperature before you serve. But that's okay - it tastes better at room temperature.

You might think you're wasting oil here, but keep in mind that the extra oil can be used in a salad dressing - it picks up the flavor of the herbs and other ingredients as it sits - or you can pour it into a bowl and use it as a dipping oil for some crusty bread. The herbs and bits of cheese add to its flavor.

Marinated Feta and Olives

1/4 pound feta cheese
1/4 pound pitted kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
Olive oil, as needed

Cube the feta cheese into bite-size pieces. If the olives are large, you can cut them in half.

Put the olives and cheese in a pint canning jar or similar storage container, alternating the cheese and olives in the jar. Add the herbs. Add olive oil to just cover the cheese and olives. Let this marinate at least an hour, but it's better as it sits and the flavors mingle.

Keep refrigerated for storage, but serve at room temperature.

Want to jazz it up? You can add other types of olives, fire-roasted red peppers, pickled or fresh jalapenos, capers, brined green peppercorns, crushed red peppers, or other spices.