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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tomato & Fetta thingo


Wow, my eloquence astounds me. But I'm not really sure what to call this without descending into menu-ese. This is something my godfather showed me years ago, one hot summer, explaining that it was a dish eaten in Greece when the weather is really hot. Although my godfather is from Rome, he was born in Egypt and has family living in Greece, so I trust his provenance on this! I imagine this sort of combintion of ingredients is pretty popular all around the Mediterranean and Middle-East.

This dish really only works when tomatoes are at their ripest and juiciest, and is just the sort of thing to eat under an umbrella on a balcony on a hot, sunny day. Get yourself some fetta cheese - we recommend Bulgarian fetta over any other type (including Greek) as it has a less aggressive flavour and creamier texture. It's not expensive. Don't even try the Aussie stuff sold in supermarkets that tastes of salt and has the texture of polystyrene. Before I store mine in the fridge, I drizzle it with olive oil to stop it going rancid too quickly.

So, mash up your fetta (as much as you want) with a fork in a bowl. Dice a ripe, red tomato into small bits and add to the fetta, along with a glug of olive oil and lots of freshly cracked black pepper and just mix it up. I always add some kind of herb too. I think I was first shown this using fresh basil, which is wonderful, but this time I used some home-dried oregano (dried by my godmother's Calabrian mum), which is more in keeping with the Greek idea of the thing. Anyway, I didn't have any basil.
I'm not so sure the Greeks serve this on top of toasted sourdough, but I guess they probably eat it with bread. It's best when the ingredients have come straight from the fridge in my opinion, as the chill is what you want on a hot day. I'm not so keen on it at warm, sloppy room temperature. Yes, perhaps it doesn't look so appetising, but the taste is just great. To my amazement even my brother, who just does not eat fresh tomato (yes, crazy!) really enjoyed it as well.

9 Comments:

  • Mmm - looks fantastic Niki. And pretty healthy too! :)

    By Blogger Kelly, at 2/01/2006 11:16:00 am  

  • Mmmm, delicious! We're smack in the middle of American winter, when ripe tomatoes are hard to come by, but I'm suddenly having a summery craving. Even though it's not strictly bruschetta, I'd throw it into that family. Yum!!

    By Anonymous Jaime, at 2/02/2006 04:15:00 am  

  • Man, that looks delicious!

    By Anonymous Laura, at 2/02/2006 07:32:00 am  

  • That's great - I'll be trying it with all the cherry tomatoes we have coming on.

    By Anonymous kitchen hand, at 2/02/2006 02:32:00 pm  

  • Delicious. You can't even begin to imagine how many things I end up describing as a "thingo" or "dealy" (a term I unabashedly stole from a Simpsons episode several years ago).

    By Blogger Nic, at 2/02/2006 03:10:00 pm  

  • Heh, y'know, that looks easy enough for even me to make! I think I'll try your 'thingo' recipe one day soon and see what Jamie thinks.

    Hayley :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/02/2006 07:33:00 pm  

  • Is Bulgarian the same as Danish? It's definitely more creamy and less salty? It sounds just like the Tasmanian feta I buy. Names, names, names. I've seen Bulgarian at the cheese stall, so I'll just do a taste test next time I'm there!!

    By Blogger plum, at 2/04/2006 12:36:00 pm  

  • wow. i'm hungry cos i've not eaten lunch and that looks absolutely delicious!

    By Blogger diva., at 2/04/2006 06:45:00 pm  

  • Hey, thanks everyone. Dead easy to make!

    Plum - I don't really like Danish fetta (I feel bad saying that cos I have some Danes coming to stay with me next week) and find it a bit too rubbery and salty. Maybe I've only had bad stuff. I also have some problems with the concept of such a middle-eastern style cheese coming from a Nordic country! Lots of places have the Bulgarian stuff, and it's pretty cheap.

    By Blogger Niki, at 2/06/2006 05:39:00 pm  

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