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RAW FETA WITH PRESERVED LEMON, ALEPPO PEPPER + FRESH MINT

Posted Jan 25 2011 12:00am



There are some Saturdays - despite that I’ve cooked or led cooking classes every day, all week - I can’t wait to get into the kitchen.  I’ve just spent two or more hours wandering around farmers’ stalls, admiring seasonal beauty, desiring to taste everything, envisioning the week’s meals.  The inspiration is irresistible.   By the time I return home from the market, I am often in need of a quick snack before I start up the stove.  And this small treat can include of the most satisfying bites I have all week - rummaging through brimming bags with anticipation, a certain little something will just feel right.  In the summer, more often than not, that something is strawberries or stone fruit. I soon find myself standing over the kitchen sink, as ruby juice rolls down my chin.  I love to steal a handful of luscious Barhi dates and raw almonds, which offers immeasurable pleasure for such simplicity.  If I managed to score fresh eggs that morning, I may scramble them with creme fraiche and a handful of torn wild greens: fava leaves, purslane, arugula, dandelion and chive.  And there is always good, crusty bread, licked with healthy dose of softened butter. A couple weeks ago, it was a pint of raw, sheep’s milk feta that caught my eye.  I layered thick slices of the tangy cheese with diced preserved lemon, Turkish red pepper, fresh mint and olive oil.  Smeared on flatbread, it was the perfect balance of mildness and piquancy, brightness and intensity.   What are some of your favorite after-shopping snacks? Raw Feta with Preserved Lemon, Aleppo Pepper and Fresh Mint 3/4 pound raw sheep’s milk feta, cut into large cubes1 preserved lemon1 teaspoon flakeshandful baby mint leavesextra-virgin olive oilcrispy flatbread or lavash, to serve
Cut the preserved lemon in half and discard the inner flesh; finely dice the rind.  In a small bowl or jar, shower a single layer of feta with a sprinkling of preserved lemon, red pepper flakes, baby mint leaves and olive oil; continuing layering until all of the feta is used.  Serve with flatbread or lavash.
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