Olive + Warm Feta Cheese Antipasti

You will be amazed at how these simple ingredients are transformed when baked. The texture of the feta becomes creamy and its flavor is enhanced by soaking up the oil and herbs . The olives become meaty when warm and soft and because they have been infused with the flavors of lemon , bay leaf and garlic, they sing of the Mediterranean.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup drained Bella Cucina Antipasti Olives, reserving oil
6 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese
1 tablespoon Sicilian Lemon Oil  
2 tablespoon oil from Bella Cucina Antipasti Olives
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the cheese in an ovenproof dish and top with the thyme and pepper, pressing lightly so that they stick to the cheese. Sprinkle the olives around the cheese and pour over the oils. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is golden on top and brown on the bottom bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven. Transfer the cheese and the olives to a serving platter and spoon the heated oil over the cheese. Alternately you may serve the cheese directly from the baking dish for a more rustic presentation (this also keeps the cheese warm).

Serve warm crostini rounds (recipe, page xx) or Bella’s Dipping Crackers.

Serves six as an antipasti

Buon appetito! copyright 2011 Alisa Barry

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