Got My Freak On For Feta

For most people, a block of feta cheese this size would last awhile. In a Greek home, this “piece” wouldn’t see the end of the week.

Here’s a little tidbit for those of you who buy “crumbled feta” at the supermarket: see the piece of feta missing from the front corner of this brick?

That and other bits like that get saved, and sold to you, the feta novice who thinks they are buying the convenience of “crumbled feta”. Buy feta from a store that sells feta in bricks, slabs or large tins. A Greek market or deli is a good start.

Feta cheese is for more than just Greek salad. We like it with toast, to make a kind of Greek Bruschetta, in Spanakopita, Saganaki, with spaghetti and brown butter or alongside some fruit like watermelon.

Today I’m showing you feta in a whole new way…in a potato gratin. Everything about this dish is Greek…the use of potatoes, rosemary, sun-dried cured olives (Throumpes) and everyone’s favourite Greek cheese, feta.

The inspiration for this dish comes from a book called The Complete Book of Greek Cooking and it’s Potatoes With Feta and Olives bit me like a Tse-Tse fly. I’ve been itching to try this dish for a few weeks now.

Their dish looked great but I was convinced their approach would have ended up with a dry baked potato dish with some burnt feta on top. However, they had a good idea.

My approach is simple, make a scalloped potato dish that would be baked with a creamy Bechamel Sauce and feta as the base cheese.

This is going to be one of my favourite Greek side dishes. The Bechamel mellows the feta, potatoes and rosemary pair with each other well and the bits of black olives round out the dish like a finishing touch of salt.

This dish is easy to prepare, feta is available everywhere these days and who doesn’t like potatoes?

Potatoes and Feta au Gratin
(for 4)

4 large potatoes
1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 large onion, sliced

1 bay leaf

2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup flour

2 cups of milk

1 sprig of rosemary

2 cups of crumbled feta

1/2 cup sun-dried black olives (Throumpes)
(pitted and roughly chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heated 400F oven

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add a good amount of salt and boil for 15 minutes. Bring the temperature of the potatoes down by placing in an ice bath until they are safe to handle.
  2. Peel the skins and discard. Slice the potatoes into thin slices and reserve.
  3. In a medium saucepan, add your butter over medium-high heat and then add your onions, garlic, bay leaf, half of your rosemary sprig and saute for 5 minutes until your onions have softened.
  4. Add your flour and stir to cook the flour for a couple of minutes. Add the milk over medium heat and stir until the Bechamel has thickened. Remove your bay leaf, rosemary, garlic and add half (1 cup) of your crumbled feta. Stir until incorporated, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm and reserve.
  5. Grease an approx. 8″ X 14″ baking dish and line the bottom with a coat of Bechamel.
  6. Lay your potato slices in a row, overlapping each other. Make rows of overlapping potatoes until the dish has been covered by your potatoes.
  7. Spread the rest of the Bechamel over the potatoes, scatter the remaining crumbled feta on top, followed by the chopped olives and remaining rosemary.
  8. Crack some fresh black pepper over the top and bake in the middle rack of your oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

© 2008,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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60 Comments for “Got My Freak On For Feta”

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining

says:

That looks sooo good. I think I know one thing I will be smuggling over the border…a brick of feta. We can get wedges and all but a block would be much better!

Ferdzy

says:

Looks good – I love scalloped potatoes and I love feta – they’ve got to be great together!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy

says:

Holy Moly! That really looks heavenly! All that gooey cheese and potato goodness. I think I’m swooning!

Val at More Than Burnt Toast posted a recipe for a Potato and Halloumi bake today. Did you guys compare notes?

Psychgrad

says:

I love it – Greek Potato Gratin. It reminds me of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when the dad talks about how every word has its origin in something Greek.

Actually, the dish looks really good. I do buy the blogs of feta. But, I get it from Costco. So, the quality of the block is probably cancelled out by the location of the purchase.

glamah16

says:

I get slabs of feta from the neighborhood Produce Mart. Cant compare to the crumbled stuff. Although I admit to having a tub of it from Costco (It was a emergency). Anyway it tastes wonderful with watermelon. Your gratin looks fab. I think my CS would like this as he loves his Feta and potatoes.

Helene

says:

Looks scrumptious. I usually buy my feta at Costco. It’s a big block of feta. I just love that cheese. Is anything still buying crumbled? They don’t know what they are missing.

Sam Sotiropoulos

says:

Ah, Peter, you have outdone yourself with this one, my friend! Just a tremendous use of feta, I have made similar dishes and I know this must have tasted as good as it looks!!!

Funny thing is, you and I must have been on the same wavelength tonight because I made a Patatopita with crumbled feta and grated halloumi…

Pixie

says:

What! Crumble feta comes off a chunk of that gorgeous cheese. Well, I usually don’t buy the crumbled one but am guilty of buying the small packaged one. Simply because I couldn’t go through it as quickly! This dish sounds ‘exquisite’. :)

Laurie Constantino

says:

Peter, your creativity is showing! I sure would be happy to eat this, pretty much any day…

Sylvie

says:

When I lived in Halls (Dorm) during my first year at Uni, I shared the kitchen with two Greek girls, I remember I was always amazed at the size of their slabs of feta. It would always be on the table with just about every meal.

Helen

says:

You can buy feta crumbled!? I didn’t know that. I buy my feta in slabs but it certainly doesn’t look anywhere near as good as your block. Mmmm, you have me thinking about your gratin and spanakopita now! Get your freak on, get your freak on……

Cakelaw

says:

This looks great Peter – both the use of feta and olives in the potato gratin are novel for me.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

The feta and the olives make this a meal and not just a side dish. Good on ya, Peter!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

says:

That does look wonderful! It would be a nice side dish to grilled lamb.

Peter M

says:

Judy…Shhhh, they could be reading (US BOrder dudes).

Ferdzy, and I used real garlic! lol

Sticky, Val loves her spuds and Halloumi is a fine cheese.

Psych…the Greek dad spoke the truth!

Glam, I’m glad you buy the larger pieces of feta.

Helene, Costco has some decent feta.

Val, you’ll enjoy this, no doubt.

Sam, thanks bro…I was very pleased with the result…you patatopita…can’t wait to see it.

Pixie, you can even buy the smaller pieces from markets/delis that sell good quality feta. The stuff in the little tubs are suspect.

Laurie, I’d have it again today but alas…no leftovers.

Jan, the combo worked out nicely.

Sylvie, feta is almost always present at the Greek table, it’s no surprise to me.

Helen, you get top points for buying good feta and if I might add, please buy Greek feta.

Cake, it was new for me in this form…I’m pleased it turned out so well.

Nina, indeed..a big plate of this would be a main course.

Lydia, that’s a great idea!

cook eat FRET

says:

that is beautiful – just perfect. i can taste it just by reading the ingredient list.

there is not even one decent greek restaurant in nashville

when i go home to nyc i always hit at least one great greek place.

i think i need to start cooking your food from your blog. also i just ordered a greek cookbook…

Lisa

says:

The block of feta wouldn’t last long in my house either. I must try this recipe as it contains some of my very favorites. Thanks Peter!

Kevin

says:

Look at the size of that brick of feta! That would last me a while. Feta potato gratin sounds like a great change from your every day potatoes and cheese.

Lina

says:

I fell in love with Greece and Greek food when I took a month long holiday 2 years ago. I’ve been looking for a good source of greek recipes and I think I found it right here! THANK YOU!

Peter M

says:

Thanks, Maryann.

Cook-eat-fret…alot of eateries are owned by Greeks, ask them if they’ll make a Greek dish as a special.

Lisa, good to know you enjoy feta as much as Greeks do.

Kevin, you can always buy a slab or two.

Lina, welcome and please have a look around…lots of Greek recipes in here and if you can’t find it..just ask.

RecipeGirl

says:

I love buying the slabs. It doesn’t last long in my house, but we’re Swedish & Irish around here! You’re right though… I don’t think I’d think to put feta in a potato gratin. Sounds great!

Mango Power Girl

says:

This is a novel idea to me. I would totally eat this, and so would my family! I wonder if the feta gets chewy at all?

Marjie

says:

I just bought a little box of crumbled feta, to try it, entirely because I keep seeing you mention it. Your expertise in the kitchen almost frightens me, sometimes (or should I say I am in awe?). I am going to try your sundried tomato salad dressing tonight, and expect to give you a glowing review very soon.

Annemarie

says:

I’ve been starting to use feta in lieu of parmesean on top of my pastas, and I’m really enjoying the creamy saltiness of it as it melts into the tomato.

Núria

says:

I swear it looks great, Peter… but I pass… I know you won’t curse me for this ;-)

kittie

says:

Wow Peter, this looks gorgeous!
I still have one and a half blocks of feta left that I brought home last year – this looks like an amazing way to use some of it up!

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love feta but I often times hardly seem to know what to do with it. This looks like a spectacular application! I have some entertaining to do this weekend and potatoes are definitely on the menu–if time permits (I hope…), this looks like a fantastic way to do it.

Nicole

says:

Peter I don’t know how it’s possible that every single recipe on this site can be so amazing!! Seriously, give us other bloggers a chance! :-)

Wandering Chopsticks

says:

Oh my! I love feta, but never thought to try it in a potato gratin. I’m definitely going to make this!

Sharlene

says:

Hi Peter,

Thanks for this excellent dish. I tried it out and it was extremely well received by my flatmates. Really simple and easy to make as well! Definitely going to be a staple part of my dishes now.

campo di fragole

says:

Hi Peter! I love feta but here where I live it’s impossible to find a piece like that! In my house wouldn’t last more than a week with two cheese eaters….
The potatoes gratin is simply amazing!
Love your blog and your connection with Greece, a place rich in culture, incredible food and uncomparable landscape!
daniela

Erin

says:

Wow! That’s all I can say. This was the potato gratin that I have ever eaten. I made it last week and have a hard time not eating too much of it at one sitting. This will be one recipe I make time and again.

Ange T Kenos, ex Tsamandas, Filiates, Epirus now Australia

says:

A polite word of warning to “novices” Real Feta is Hellenic (Greek). It is not “Feta style”. It is not made in Tasmania or in New York but in the Hellenic Republic. And to show my bias the very best Feta is made in Epirus, but as a JP I must tell you the truth so buy Epirus made Feta – Fage, Dodoni…