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Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta

This flavorful Orange-and Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta is an effortless appetizer to serve for a delicious happy hour. Bring it to a picnic or use it to add a flavor punch to sandwiches, salads, and pasta! {Jump to Recipe}

Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta // FoodNouveau.com

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of l’apéro—the casual pre-dinner event that combines drinks, nibbles, and friends. In fact, if I had it my way, in the summer, I’d do l’apéro every night. It wouldn’t be a fuss either, because I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make it easy to host a delicious happy hour. I have shared all my tips in my cookbook French Appetizers, but the most important one is this: Keep staples at hand for last-minute entertaining. I always keep a bottle of bubbly, white, or rosé wine, a jar of olives, and a saucisson in the fridge, plus some crackers and a jar or two of shelf-stable terrines and rillettes in the pantry. With such basic items at hand, I’m always ready for spontaneous gatherings.

Another of my favorite apéro hacks is to prep a more elaborate snack that keeps (and even improves) for several days in the fridge. These snacks can turn into lunch in a pinch, or elevate a last-minute happy hour. In this category are tapenades, homemade hummus, dips, and rillettes—all of which I have delicious and easy recipes for in French Appetizers, wink-wink—but one of my staples is actually a recipe I created for my first cookbook, Simply Citrus.

Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta // FoodNouveau.com

This recipe for Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta comes together in a pinch and gets better with each passing day because upon resting, the feta and oil become more and more infused with the flavorings. What’s more, this marinated feta is ultra-versatile, too. You can slip a slice in a sandwich or pita, crumble some over a salad, add it to pasta, or serve it for l’apéro with crusty bread to soak up all the flavor.

Once you’ve eaten all the feta, don’t you ever throw away that marinating oil! It’s so flavorful you can use it in dressings, to toss with pasta, or as a drizzle over fish and seafood.

Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta // FoodNouveau.com

Helpful Tips to Make Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta

  • Quality is key: Use extra-virgin olive oil that you’d enjoy tasting by the spoonful. It doesn’t have to be your best olive oil because it will soak up the flavors from other ingredients, but it should be a cold-pressed, soft- to medium-tasting one.
  • Choose your feta cheese carefully: I especially like the tangy flavor of Greek feta cheese, which is usually made with sheep’s milk, but softer-flavored feta cheeses made with goat’s and cow’s milk are also common. Make sure the feta you use is packed in brine, which has a longer life-span and a creamier texture.
  • Play with the herbs: In the recipe, I suggest using a combination of basil and mint, but feel free to use whatever herbs you have at hand. Oregano, thyme, and lemon balm would all be excellent substitutes.

Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta // FoodNouveau.com

 

Orange-and-Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta

Prep

Inactive

Total

Yield 6 servings

This flavorful Orange-and Fresh-Herb Marinated Feta is an effortless appetizer to serve for a delicious happy hour. Bring it to a picnic or use it to add a flavor punch to sandwiches, salads, and pasta!

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) crushed fennel seeds
  • Zest from 1 orange, cut into strips (see note)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh mint
  • 1 block feta cheese (about 14 oz/400 g), cut into 6 slices or in large cubes
  • 1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil plus more as needed

To serve

  • Fresh crusty bread or pita bread slices

Instructions

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, peppercorns, fennel, orange zest, basil, and mint.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the herb mixture onto the bottom of a 1-pint (475 ml) glass jar. Add 1 slice (or a few cubes) of feta cheese. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the herb mixture, and then add another slice of feta cheese. Continue layering, pressing and tucking slices into the sides of the jar if needed. Cover with the oil. Close the jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow flavors to infuse (the marinated cheese will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week).

Bring back to room temperature before serving. Serve with fresh crusty bread or pita bread slices.

Notes

To create orange zest strips, use a vegetable peeler to first collect the peel and then julienne into thin strips. Alternatively, use a round-handled zester to julienne the peel of whole fruits in no time.

Courses Appetizer

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What do you think of this recipe? Got any questions? Let's chat!
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