After my first attempt at making feta, I was inspired to try marinating it to see what different flavours I could get. Also not everyone likes the saltiness of brined feta so I was interested to see whether preserving it in oil would reduce the saltiness.
Many people like to use olive oil for the flavour it gives, but olive can congeal in the fridge so I find that it is better to use an oil like canola that doesn’t have that issue unless you plan to eat it fairly soon. Canola oil is also quite neutral so plenty of opportunity to let the herbs you use shine through.
Most of the recipes I found used dried herbs. Those that used fresh seemed designed to be eaten within 48 hours. One recipe urged you to use robust fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano and sage and not soft ones like basil or chives. The first keep their shape and aroma, while the second category look and taste bland when soaked in olive oil for longer than one hour.
Marinating the feta couldn’t be easier:
- If you’ve made your own feta, brine it for at least 12 hours before marinating. Of course you can buy ready-made feta.
- Remove feta from brine and pat dry before cutting into 1-2 cm cubes.
- Put a layer of feta cubes in your jars, and add a layer of whatever herbs you have chosen (don’t be shy, add plenty). Add more layers of feta and herbs until the jars are full. Cover with oil and seal the jars.
- Marinate for at least 1 week in the fridge before sampling. The longer you leave it marinating, the stronger the infused taste.
- Store marinated feta in the fridge and eat within 1 month.
My favourite so far is using preserved lemons and cumin seeds.
For Christmas presents I used sundried tomatoes, dried rosemary, and peppercorns to give a festive look.
If you like it hot and spicy, you could try fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh sage, garlic cut into thick slices and slices of chili pepper.
I thought that the minimally brined feta was less salty when marinated but I’m yet to hear the verdict from others. If you like it saltier, you could leave it in the brine for longer.