Cheese is something I generally try to limit in my diet, although it’s hard for me to restrict the passion in my heart. I adore the full range of stinkier cheeses available. Although I lean more heavily toward a goat’s or sheep’s milk cheese, a great aged sharp cheddar can also do me in. I will always eat burrata on special occasions (included embarrassing friends with the closed eyes, transport-me-to-heaven-now look I apparently get.) But, don’t get me started on feta. I’ve always had a passion for feta, yet my true revelation was the day a close Albanian friend introduced 23-year-old-me to the sweet and salty love story that is feta and watermelon.
Fast forward just a few years, and it’s summertime a few weeks before my wedding. I’d promised that I’d cut out dairy (and processes sugar) until the big day, but after we pulled tomatoes and herbs from the garden, I couldn’t resist throwing everything that looked delicious and fresh into one bowl, including red bell peppers, parsley, mint, kale, tomatoes, avocado, red bell peppers—-and one gorgeous, creamy-yet-crumbly brick of feta fresh from the farmers’ market, all tied together with a quick lemon vinaigrette (whisk 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, dash of salt, pinch of pepper.)
An additional tip for those who like the idea of feta, but find it a bit strong by itself: marinate it. Keeping it in the brine will preserve feta, but if you have a food saver, jar, or other way of re-sealing the feta, you can remove it from the brine and add olive oil and herbs or sweeter additions such as preserved lemon or sun/oven-dried tomatoes to soften the flavor. In the image below, I have used my food saver so I wouldn’t have to add as much olive oil.