Slow Food From France: Introduction & a Roasted French Feta Appetizer

Note from Shannon: Please welcome Janet, who will be sharing her experiences with the foods and cultures of France as she treks through the French countryside.
France is the place of many dreamers, and I am no exception.  For the past few years I have been doing my best to become the classic “old school” French home chef.  I have been learning traditional French cooking methods, dabbling in the food language, perusing cookbooks from various regions of the area, even expanding my garden with the objective to truly eat fresh and simply from garden to table.

This summer, my time has come for a month long visit to the country.  And deciding not to do the regular tourist visit in Paris, our family chose to embark on a home exchange to the South of France:  Provence!  My family and I will be trekking through the countryside of Avignon as well as Nice, exploring food adventures and sharing them here in a series of blogs.  We chose a home exchange as it allows us to really steep in the culture a bit like a local, shopping the markets, cooking from scratch, and hopefully sharing meals with some neighbors.

Food is such an integral part of this country as all of their activities surround the community of food:  from the farms, to the markets, to the table.  Specifically, I will focus on various local cultured foods as cheeses, breads, and yogurts which are staples in any French household.  If you are already culturing in your home, I hope this might encourage you to add another culture to your kitchen rhythm.  If you are new to culturing; welcome!  I hope to inspire you to try something new by adding some wild fermented foods into your diet.

To whet your appetite, I will begin by giving you an easy appetizer that incorporates Feta cheese and uses fresh summer veggies.  The traditional French Feta uses sheep milk, but you can substitute goat if needed.  These choices are both creamier than the traditional cow milk feta.

Venez sur le long (Come on along) and enjoy all that French food has to offer as I explore this beautiful country!

Roasted French Feta with olives and tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb feta (preferably Sheep or goat milk), rinsed and drained, sliced into   1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled (1 teaspoon if fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bottled roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 large tomato sliced and cut into small chunks
  • 10 Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Divide cheese evenly among large flameproof baking pan. Sprinkle oregano and pepper over cheese.
  3. Stir together tomatoes, olives, and oil in a small bowl, then spoon mixture over and around cheese.
  4. Broil 2 to 4 inches from heat until edges of cheese are golden, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and baguette slices or other crusty bread,
  6. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Janet Creasy

Janet Creasy

Janet is primarily a proud mama of two tween girls and is married to a stellar man wired for engineering. She spends a great deal of time in the kitchen and garden. She enjoys the full life cycle of real food as primal fuel for our body; which she feels is critical to how we approach the world around us. She finds immense joy in seeing how many food culture ‘science’ projects she can keep going at one time! Her favorites are kombucha, yogurt and tempeh and she is delving currently into rice flour sourdough and water kefir.

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