Sexy Baked Olives & Feta Cheese

French feta is a mild, creamy cheese and is really my favorite to use in this recipe. I serve this in the same iron skillet I use to make the dish. This recipe can easily be multiplied for a large crowd.

Serves 5 to 8 as a cocktail appetizer

Level of difficulty: easy

Ingredients

3/4 cup mixed imported olives, not pitted, drained (do not use oil-cured olives)
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp minced lemon zest
1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 thick piece (3 1/2 to 4 ounces) feta cheese

Instructions

In a small bowl, toss the olives with the thyme, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and olive oil.

Lightly oil the bottom of a small 4- to 5-inch ovenproof skillet, such as cast iron.

Place the cheese in the center of the pan, then top with the marinated olive mixture. Use a rubber spatula to get all the goodies out of the olive-tossing bowl and onto the cheese. Some olives will stay on top of the cheese and some will fall to the side. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the skillet for up to 1 day.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F.

Bake the cheese and olives for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is soft and gooey. Serve immediately, right out of the pan, with slices of rustic bread, crostini, pita, or pita chips.

Chef Kathy Casey is a food, beverage and restaurant concept consultant and food writer. She owns Kathy Casey Food Studios®, a consulting and special events venue, and co-owns with husband John Casey her café and specialty food concept, Dish D'Lish®. This recipe is from Dishing with Kathy Casey: Food, Fun & Cocktails from Seattle’s Culinary Diva, Sasquatch Books, Seattle. Copyright © 2002 by Kathy Casey.


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