Marinated Feta and Green Olives

Photo: Carl Tremblay / Food Styling: Marie Piraino

We wanted a brightly flavored, chunky mix of marinated feta and olives that could take center stage on an elegant cheese board. Thinly sliced garlic, orange zest, oregano, cumin seeds, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes gave the marinade complexity and brightness. Toasting the cumin seeds and briefly warming the marinade deepened the flavors, and the warm marinade easily infused the cubed feta and chopped olives. Letting the feta and olives sit in the marinade for 90 minutes before serving allowed the flavors to meld. For more richness, we added a little extra oil just before serving. Don't use marinated olives here; look for plain, brined olives, which can be found in the deli section at most supermarkets. Be sure to buy a block of feta, not crumbled feta, for this recipe. Our favorite brand of feta cheese is Mt. Vikos Traditional Feta. Serve with crostini, pita chips, or pita wedges.

Marinated Feta and Green Olives
Marinated Feta and Green Olives (Photo: Carl Tremblay, Food Styling: Marie Piraino)

Ingredients

 

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces feta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted green olives, chopped coarse

Directions

1. Toast cumin seeds in small saucepan over medium heat, shaking pan, until first wisps of smoke appear, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup oil, oregano, garlic, orange zest, and pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic is softened, about 10 minutes.

2. Place feta and olives in medium bowl, pour warm marinade over top, and toss gently to combine. Cover and let sit until mixture reaches room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup oil before serving. (Marinated olives and feta can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; bring to room temperature before serving.)

Cook time: 
Yield: 
Serves 6 to 8
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