While I generally prefer cows’ milk cheese to those made with goats’ or sheep’s milk, feta has always been one of my favorite cheeses. Whole Foods even makes a really nice (and lower priced) cows’ milk feta that I love. One of the things that’s so great about feta is that its pungent flavor means you only need a small amount to perk up a wrap or salad. Of course feta is also crumbly… a little bit messy even. Did you ever want to take that salty, tangy deliciousness and turn it into something more manageable? Something you can spread on toast or eat in a tortilla without it falling out of the ends? Well then – I have just the thing for you!
When I first tasted a dollop of this right out of the food processor, a grin immediately spread across my face and I exclaimed, “YUM! This is GOOD!” It’s got all of the flavor that you love from feta cheese, but in a smooth, creamy consistency that is perfect for dipping and spreading. The drizzle of herb oil over the top adds a dimension of freshness that slightly counters the saltiness of the cheese. In my opinion it’s even better if you add something slightly sweet on top of it, like fresh diced tomatoes (my favorite), sun-dried tomatoes, a balsamic reduction, honey, or whatever else your creative mind can think of. I also absolutely loved the addition of toasted pine nuts for a little bit of texture.
With this being the season for parties – and limited time to prepare for said parties – this appetizer is a quick and elegant option for guests. And hey, if you’re not the party going type (raises hand) then this is still awesome to spread on toast at breakfast, on a Mediterranean wrap at lunch, or to toss with a bit of cooked pasta and steamed veggies at dinner. As far as flavor is concerned, a little goes a long way.
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 8oz feta cheese
- 4oz mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a food processor combine fresh herbs, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Blend well and transfer to another container – I used a liquid measuring cup so it would be easier to pour out over the cheese later.
- If you want your cheese spread to remain white, wipe out the residual oil and herbs from the food processor basin.
- Add both cheeses to the food processor and blend until smooth. Once smooth add the heavy whipping cream and black pepper. Pulse until mixture is creamy and light.
- In a serving bowl alternate adding the cheese and a drizzle of herb oil, ending with the herb oil on top. If desired top with toasted nuts (the addition of nuts isn’t factored into the calorie count below).
- Serve with crackers, crostini, chips, fresh veggies, or whatever else you like.
- This robust spread pairs well with something sweet. Having fresh tomato slices, sun-dried tomato, balsamic, or honey available to drizzle over the top is awesome.