The One-Pan Sicilian Swordfish with Spicy Olive Oil Poached Tomatoes recipe I just made was pretty decadent for me, so how on earth am I going to follow that up? It took me a while to figure it out, but then I stumbled upon this Baked Feta with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs recipe, and I had an ah-ha! moment. I’m trying really hard to think of a cheese I don’t like, and I’m coming up with nothing. But baking it somehow makes it special. I guess it’s because it’s not something I ever do for regular meals, just when for holidays or when we have guests. Add to that the fact that I pretty much always have feta cheese cold, and this is extra, extra special.
A super simple cheese appetizer featuring bold Mediterranean flavors.
There weren’t a ton of ingredients in this recipe, but I did have to buy almost all of them. Not a big deal as everything was easy to find on one trip to my local grocery store. Feta cheese is pretty common now, and they stocked a couple of different brands ranging in price from $4 to $8 for an 8-ounce block. I went with the $4 generic feta as I’ve tried it before and know it’s pretty good.
You might have noticed from the ingredients photo that I substituted grape tomatoes for cherry tomatoes. I had to do that on this and the swordfish recipe I just made. I’ve noticed that grape tomatoes are what are normally stocked, and I decided to investigate the difference between the two since I’m a tomato novice.
The reason seems to be that grape tomatoes are a bit hardier than their cherry cousins. A lot of grocery stores have taken to stocking them as they have a longer shelf life. They aren’t as sweet as cherry tomatoes, but they can be used interchangeably in most cases. I don’t have a super-sensitive palate, and I doubt I would be able to tell the difference. It’s just something I was curious about and wanted to point out in the interest of transparency.
The author describes this recipe as “super simple”, and I have to agree. I took my time slicing the tomatoes and still had it ready in under half an hour. In 29 minutes to be exact. Here’s how my time broke down:
- 9 minutes to prep
- 20 minutes to cook
- 29 minutes total
I decided to use the entire pint of grape tomatoes I bought for this recipe so I wouldn’t have any leftovers go to waste. I’m sure it was more than the 1 cup called for (I didn’t measure), so that might have been why my prep took longer than the 5 minutes listed.
Otherwise, the instructions were so easy to follow. A little slicing and chopping were all it took to get the tomatoes and herbs ready to go. Then it was just a matter of pouring the mixture onto the cheese and baking it all for 20 minutes.
The result was a warm, soft block of feta cheese with plenty of roasted tomatoes to enjoy it with. I served it on slices of a sourdough baguette. I even had a little baked feta leftover after the bread was gone, so I reheated it and served it on a baked potato for lunch. It. Was. Epic!