This rustic feta and tomato appetizer is an easy recipe, great for feeding a crowd, and perfect for summer!
Equipment: A large skillet and a 2 quart baking dish. (or, for a more rustic presentation and less pots to clean, cook this whole dish in a large cast iron skillet.)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 pints (about 6 cups) of ripe cherry tomatoes or cocktail tomatoes, halved, or quartered if large
- Kosher salt
- 2 7-ounce blocks of feta cheese (see notes)
- Fresh slivered basil, for serving (10-12 leaves)
- Sliced bread, baguette or crostini, for serving (see notes)
- Preheat the broiler/grill on high and set the oven rack in the top position.
- Simmer the oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over low heat for 2 minutes or so, to soften and mellow the garlic. Add the tomatoes and a pinch or two of salt, and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the tomatoes start to soften and release their juices.
- Pour tomatoes and juices into the casserole, use a spoon to clear an area in the middle of the pan, and add the blocks of feta. Alternatively, if using a cast iron skillet or another oven-ready skillet, you can skip the casserole dish and simply add the blocks of feta to the skillet.
- Place the pan in the oven, under the broiler, for 3-4 minutes, until the feta is soft and golden brown in spots, and some of the tomatoes have blistered.
- Serve this dish hot, straight from the pot. Sprinkle on the fresh basil, set the pot out on the table on a trivet, alongside a basket of fresh sliced baguette or crostini (see notes), with a serving spoon, small appetizer plates or shallow bowls, and teaspoons.
Which Feta should I use for this recipe? Use the type of feta sold in a block. Any feta will be delicious in this recipe. I have a slight preference for feta made from sheep's milk or a combination of sheep and goat milk. It tends to be creamier and tangier than feta made from cow's milk, and it gets softer when heated. My favorite is a French feta called Valbreso.
How to make crostini : Crostini is thinly sliced toasted bread that's perfect for bruschetta and for this appetizer. Baguettes are the best shape and easiest to slice, but whatever bread you choose will work. Cut the bread into small pieces, no more than ½-inch thick. Spread the pieces out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast them a hot oven at 450ºF/230ºC for 5-8 minutes, checking often, until they are lightly toasted.
How to prepare this dish ahead of time - You can do everything through step #3, a couple of hours ahead. Then broil just before serving.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: broil
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: warm feta dip, blistered tomatoes, feta tomato dip, feta tomato appetizer, summer appetizer