When in Greece you’ll likely dine at one of the tavernas that dot the entire country. These eateries are more informal, great meeting/gathering places for family and friends and usually the prices are affordable. I love taverna fare as you often get a combo of classics and some of the chef/owner’s creativity in the menu (and on your plate).
Some tavernas serve this meze of Feta cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry and either baked or fried. I like the latter as the Feta retains its form, the phyllo is lightly fried and the crisp texture vs. the soft, warm Feta is one I adore. As always, prefer butter to oil for brushing on phyllo and besides, butter is also part of Greek cusine…margarine isn’t!
Additional flavourings here are sesame seeds and sesame seeds love mastiha so a sprinkle of it (ground) goes on top of the Feta before being wrapped up. Greek honey is the best in the world (YES IT IS) and a drizzle of it balances the tart and salty Feta. Add sprinkle of thyme leaves, maaaybe a lemon squeezer and pour the Ouzo on ice. It’s meze time!
Feta Cheese in Phyllo With Mastiha, Sesame, Thyme & Honey
(meze for two greedy Greeks, serves 4 usually)
1 slab of Epiros Feta cheese (found in Canada at Costco)
2 Tbsp. of butter, melted
a sprinkle of ground mastiha
1 sheet of phyllo pastry
1 tsp. of olive oil
black and white sesame seeds
drizzle of Attiki honey
- Take your slab of Feta cheese out of the container and pat dry (or slice evenly to about 1/2 inch thick) and set aside. Now place sheet of phyllo on your work surface and brush the entire surface with melted butter then fold over and brush the top layer again.
- Place the slab of Feta at one end of the phyllo (about two inches in from the edge) and sprinkle the ground mastiha over the cheese. Now fold the short end of phyllo over the cheese followed by folding the two sides in towards the cheese. Now roll-up the phyllo until it has been completed wrapped to form a phyllo packet.
- Brush the seam where the end of the phyllo sheet endsd and brush the remaining butter over the rest of the phyllo packet.
- Place hevy skillet or cast iron pan on your stovetop over medium heat and add tsp. of olive oil. Once hot, gently place your phyylo packet in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes a side or until just golden. Use spautula to carefully flip and fry the other side until just golden.
- You may serve “saganaki” style in the pan or transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sesame seeds and fresh thyme leaves. Serve as a meze with an Ouzo (or tsipouro) on ice and a squeeze of lemon juice (optional).
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