Monday, 3 March 2014

Low-Carb Parchment-Baked Feta with Thyme & Chilli

A puffed-up parcel of melty feta, hot and rustling from the oven, makes a splendid snack when you're entertaining friends and family.  Part of the fun of food baked in paper is tearing open the parcels and inhaling the gorgeous aromatic steam, so bring this straight to the table and open it in front of your guests.

A slab of flavoured feta cheese resting on fresh vine leaves and
 baking paper, ready for wrapping and baking.

Mild, creamy feta cheese is perfect for baking en papillote because it so eagerly accepts other punchy flavours.  In this dish, I've flavoured the feta with a simple combination of fresh thyme, black pepper and chilli flakes, but you can add any other ingredients you fancy - garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, chopped olives, sundried tomatoes, preserved lemons, and so on.

I make two or three of these when I'm expecting a crowd, and I accompany the dish with crisp cubes of watermelon or prickly pear, or ripe baby figs (see picture below).

Served with slim iced celery sticks, this is a great choice of starter if you or any of your guests are on a low-carb or diabetic regime.

In the picture above, I've lined the baking paper with some fresh leaves from my grapevine, but you can omit these, or use baby spinach leaves.  

Wrap the feta in baking paper, and secure the parcel
with raffia or kitchen string.

Serve the hot feta parcels with ripe baby figs or crisp watermelon cubes, or with chilled
celery sticks if you're on a low-carb eating plan. Plate by David Walters

Parchment-Baked Feta with Thyme & Chilli 

1 x 250 g slab of feta cheese
5 fresh vine leaves or baby spinach leaves [optional]
1 tsp (5 ml) dried chilli flakes, or more, to taste
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
milled black pepper
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fruity olive oil

Heat the oven to 190 ºC.  Place a rectangle of baking paper on your countertop and arrange the grapevine or baby spinach leaves in the centre. Position the slab of feta cheese on top of the leaves and sprinkle over the chilli flakes, thyme and pepper. 

Trickle the olive oil all over the cheese, then fold the paper up to create a parcel, as if you are wrapping a birthday present.  Don't wrap it too tightly - there needs to be some leeway so the parcel will puff up in the oven.  Secure the parcel with a length of raffia or kitchen string. 

Slide the parcel onto a baking sheet (or place it in a ceramic dish) and bake at 190 ºC for 12-15 minutes, or until it is piping hot and puffed. 

Serve immediately.

Serves 4 - 6 as a snack. 

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1 comment:

Juz said...

Omg! I want to stuff my face with it right now!