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 one of my most favorite things is eating scrumptious dishes that are easy to create.
Bouyiourdi (spicy baked feta) is the kind of dish that will stand out on any dinner spread. It’s a popular Greek meze (appetizer) that comes from Thessaloniki, a cosmopolitan seaside city in Northern Greece, and one of my favorite places to visit. The city lies where Europe meets Asia, and where, as a result, many taste influences converge, dating back to the time of Alexander the Great (his half-sister, Thessalonike, gave the city its name).
The best part about bouyiourdi is that it hardly even needs a recipe. All you need to do is assemble a slab of feta, slices of tomatoes and onions, herbs, and peppers into a clay pot, douse it all with extra virgin olive oil and pop the pot in the oven. Once the vegetables are cooked and the feta becomes as gooey as a good hot fudge, the dish is ready to be served directly from oven to table. Make sure to have plenty of bread ready to break, dunk, and mop up the juices from the oil and herbs. Bouyiourdi will surely be your next favorite thing on the menu.
-1 brick of Feta (not crumbled)
-1 tomato, sliced
-½ red onion
-1 small jalapeno or a handful of pepperoncini peppers, sliced into thin rings
-1 Tablespoon oregano
-1 tsp. chili flakes
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a clay pot or shallow baking dish, arrange the tomatoes on the bottom of the dish, reserving two slices for the top. Arrange the onions and peppers on top of the tomatoes, again reserving some slices for the top. Sprinkle with half of the oregano.
2. Place the brick of feta on top of the vegetables.
3. Top feta with the remaining slices of tomatoes, onions, and peppers in a nice arrangement.
4. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and finish with the remaining oregano and chili flakes.
5. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the feta is lightly golden and gooey.
6. Serve as is in the pot with warm bread and enjoy!
*Alternate baking instructions: aluminum foil method.
Using aluminum foil, place the vegetables and feta 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. And bake until the feta is browned and vegetables softened.