These are a few of my favorite things: Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens. In fact, while I’m actually not much of kitten or mitten enthusiast, I do enjoy simple pleasures like peeling an orange in one long piece, finding a missing match to my favorite socks, and receiving snail mail while simultaneously clicking “unsubscribe” from annoying email lists. But perhaps my very favorite thing is eating scrumptious dishes that are easy to create.
BOUYIOURDI puts the E in easy and will stand out in any dinner spread. This popular Greek meze comes from Thessaloniki, a cosmopolitan seaside city in Northern Greece, and gives me yet another reason to visit one of my favorite Greek cities. Thessaloniki lies where Europe meets Asia, and where, as a result, many taste influences converge, dating back to the time of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s half-sister, Thessalonike, gave the city its name. It is not known if they ate bouyiourdi.
The best thing about bouyiourdi (boo-your-THEE) is that it hardly even needs a recipe. You take a slab of feta, slices of tomatoes and onions, herbs, and pepper and stack them in a clay pot. Then you douse it all with extra-virgin olive oil, and pop the pot into the oven. When the feta softens and becomes gooey like a good hot fudge, carry the dish directly from oven to your dinner table. Make sure to have plenty of bread ready to break, dunk, and mop up the juices from the oil and herbs and to stack those vegetables onto. Bouyiourdi, will surely become—like raindrops on roses—a favorite dinner surprise on your menu, too.
- 1 tomato, sliced
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small jalapeno or a handful of pepperoncini peppers, sliced into thin rings
- 1 thick slice of feta (not crumbled)
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a clay pot or shallow baking dish, arrange the tomatoes on the bottom of the dish, reserving two slices for the top. Stack the onions and peppers on top of the tomatoes, again reserving some slices for the top. Sprinkle with half of the oregano.
- Place the feta on top of the vegetables. Top feta with the remaining slices of tomatoes, onions, and peppers in a nice arrangement.
- Drizzle liberally with olive oil and finish with the remaining oregano and chili flakes.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the feta is lightly golden and gooey.
- Serve as is in the pot with warm bread for dunking.
- Using two layers of aluminum foil, place the vegetables and feta onto the foil in the same way as directed above. Wrap the foil around the ingredients and place on a baking tray. Make sure the foil isn’t torn to keep the juices inside. Bake until the feta is browned and vegetables softened.