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Fun with Marinated Feta

There's no big secret behind marinated feta. Transforming a brined sheep or goat milk feta into marinated feta requires nothing more than some olive (or safflower) oil, herbs, and garlic. The result is a wonderfully soft and rich cheese, as the oil irradicates the dryness from brined feta.

Feta is naturally low in fat and the dry, crumbly version in brine provides a perfect counterpoint to rich, fatty meats in dishes such as lamb kebabs and gyros. When used in salads and on certain seafood, however, feta benefits from the munificence of unctuous olive oil. The addition of herbs and garlic also imparts flavors to the oil itself. The resulting precious infused olive oil yields the most toothsome of dressings.

Try storebought or homemade marinated feta on green salads or savory fruit salads, such as watermelon and tomato or grilled stone fruit, drizzling the oil over the salad first and then crumbling on the feta after tossing. Spread it on crostini, crackers, or bruchetta before topping with grilled peppers, olive tapenade, or diced tomato and basil. Or sprinkle it over grilled shrimp, squid, or octopus and garnish with chiffonaded mint leaves.

Tip: When making your own marinated feta, dry herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, or marjoram are ideal. A sealable glass jar is the best container. A whole clove of garlic or whole peppercorns can be added to the oil, if so desired. Other additions to experiment with include citrus rind or fresh shaved truffles for a truly luxurious outcome.

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