Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
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Baked Feta & Grilled Pepper salad www.btsofcarey.co.zaI’ve been wanting to try my hand at baking feta in a garlic, herb and lemon zest infused olive oil for ages. I saw this clever method on a cooking show some time back. When I received a jar of Melissa’s Pickled Peppers (along with other delightful goodies), I finally found an excuse to try it. The peppers are sweet with a gentle acidity that I thought would work well with feta. I also grilled the peppers to get a bit of a smoky flavour. This feta and pepper combo is just delicious with salad greens like baby spinach, rocket and watercress and the addition of Toasted Seeds and red onion slices in pickled in Vinaigrette. It sounds very simple, but I love a salad that is balanced and allows every element to shine.

But let me just talk about the feta for a bit, the idea is to bake the feta in lots of grassy olive oil and aromatics at a low temperature for about 30 minutes. The feta becomes softer and rather unctuous. It absorbs flavour like a sponge – you can really taste the garlic, herbs, lemon and the subtlety of the olive oil.
Best part is, the infused olive oil that the feta is baked in is delicious cooled and drizzled on lamb chops before slapping on the braai. I even used it when frying up my mirepoix for an Italian sausage and mince ragu last night. Delish!

Baked Feta & Grilled Pepper SaladBaked Feta & Grilled Pepper Salad

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
200 g Feta Cheese
4 cloves garlic, squashed
zest of 1 lemon
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 c (250 ml) olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 T (45 ml) Melissa’s Vinaigrette
1 jar of Melissa’s Pickled Peppers, removed from pickling liquid
a drizzle of olive oil
100 g mixed salad greens
a handful of Melissa’s Toasted Seeds
Extra olive oil and vinaigrette for drizzling

Method:
Preheat the oven to 160 Degrees Celsius.
Place the feta, garlic, zest and herbs in a small oven proof dish. Season with black pepper.
Bake for +- 30 minutes or until tender. Gently break into bite size pieces.
Toss the sliced red onion together with the vinaigrette and allow to marinate until ready to serve. Then drain from vinaigrette.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Drizzle peppers with a little oil and grill until each piece is charred on both sides. Cut into bite size pieces.
Lightly toss the warm feta, grilled peppers and pickled onions together with the salad greens. Lightly dress with vinaigrette or olive oil.
Serve sprinkled with toasted seeds.
Eat immediately!
Note: Only bake feta when ready to serve.
Variations:
Add fresh avo or grilled aubergine and courgette slices.
Replace feta with goat’s cheese.

grilled peppersbaked fetabaked fetainfused olive oil

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