marinated feta cheese with chilli

Lindsey Bareham

I make this regularly, turning a block of Greek feta cheese into something to transform salads, sandwiches and simple pasta dishes. The cheese is diced and immersed in decent olive oil, preferably a fruity Greek or peppery Italian oil, seasoned with scraps of chilli, finely sliced shallot, a bay leaf or two and sprigs of rosemary, thyme or oregano. Left for a minimum of an hour, preferably overnight and up to a week — if it ever lasts that long — both cheese and oil will be transformed and can be used together or separately. Try it spooned over garlicky bruschetta for a moreish snack or add it to the bbq table. Store in the fridge and remove 30 min before using; the olive oil will have solidified.

serves 4, prep 20 min

1 red bird's eye chilli
2 small shallots
200g block Greek feta
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
few sprigs rosemary, thyme or oregano
200ml, approx, fruity olive oil

Using a sharp knife, trim and split the chilli, scrape away the seeds and slice in long, skinny batons. Slice across the batons into tiny scraps. Trim and halve the shallots through the root. Slice across the halves very, very thinly. Separate the slices. Dice the feta about the size of a sugar lump. Place chilli, shallots and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Place the feta in a 500ml kilner jar or similar, spoon over the oil and tuck bay and herbs between the mixture. Cover and chill until required.