If you are in the club of those who love feta (I am!), then you will surely appreciate this dish. All you need to do is to bread a block of feta cheese with sesame and poppy seeds, and then pan fry it. The result is a crispy, crunchy outer layer with a warm, soft inner layer of cheesy goodness. Drizzling the finished fried feta with a balsamic vinegar reduction is optional but very good. If you have a sweet tooth, you might also like a drizzle of honey. This is the perfect muse for smearing on toast, in a lettuce cup, on a cracker, or wherever your creativity takes you. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 2-4 people as an appetizer
20g (2T) white sesame seeds, non-toasted
10g (1T) black sesame seeds
10g (1T) poppy seeds
15g (2T) panko or other bread crumbs
Optional drizzle toppings: balsamic vinegar reduction and honey
1 block (about 100g or 8 oz) of feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Flour, a couple of spoonfuls
- Prepare dry topping: Mix all ingredients together and place in a flat container/try that is big enough to hold the feta block.
- Prepare bread, crackers or other accoutrements. Place in a basket or think about potentially placing around the fried feta block after it is cooked.
- Feta: dry all sides with a paper towel just before using.
- Bread the feta:
- Place flour in 1 pan/tray container which is big enough to lay the feta cheese flat.
- Crack an egg in another similarly sized pan/tray. Blend it with a fork or spoon until it is no longer separated, but you don’t need to whisk it.
- Line up your 3 trays: flour, egg, and dry topping. Place a plate or other recipient next to the dry topping tray – this is for the breaded feta before it is cooked.
- Dip the dried feta into the flour and coat all sides; remove excess.
- Place flour-coated feta into the egg and coat all sides.
- Place egg-coated feta into tray with toppings and coat all sides. Transfer to dry plate or other recipient.
- Immediately pan fry the feta:
- Heat pan on medium-high; add some olive oil for shallow frying.
- Place feta in pan. Cook until browned and crusty. Check and control the temperature. Turn down if too hot to avoid burning. Cook on all 6 sides. It gets a little tricky to get the feta block to fully cooperate, so do the best you can! The most important is to get the 2 largest flat sides crisped up.
- Optional: Transfer pan to pre-heated 200°C oven for about 3-5 minutes. This may be necessary if you’ve had difficulty getting all 6 sides crisped up, which means the cheese might not be softened enough in the middle. It takes a little trial and error here.
- Transfer fried cheese block to platter.
- Drizzle feta block with reduced balsamic vinegar; drizzle with honey (optional). If you don’t have a balsamic vinegar reduction, you can skip this step.
- Freshly grind some pepper on top or sprinkle with piment d’Espelette. Serve immediately. Make sure you say “opa” when you bring it to the table!