A drizzle of sticky pomegranate molasses, a swirl of sweet honey and a quick blast of heat transform a standard block of crumbly feta into an unexpectedly luscious baked feta with figs spread.
- 1 head radicchio
- 1 (3 to 4-oz) block of feta cheese
- 2 teaspoon honey (at room temperature, plus more for serving)
- 2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (at room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
- 3-4 fresh figs (trimmed and quartered or halved, depending on size)
- ¼ cup toasted walnut halves
- ¼ cup whole fresh mint leaves (loosely packed)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl prepare an ice bath. Trim the base off the radicchio and carefully separate the leaves and put them into the bowl of ice water to freshen.
Line a small, rimmed baking dish or ovenproof bowl a little larger than the block of feta with enough parchment to come up and over the sides. If they are available you can create the same bowl-effect using 4 whole fresh fig leaves.
Put the feta inside the parchment or leaf bowl you created and drizzle with about half of the honey and pomegranate molasses then use a small offset spatula to coat the block on all sides. Drizzle the remaining honey and pomegranate molasses in the center of the block letting it ooze wherever it likes. Bake for 30 minutes, maybe a bit more, until golden and sticky. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the cheese while still in the parchment or leaf bowl, letting as much of the liquid drip back into the baking dish as possible. Transfer the cheese to a serving platter. I found that a thin, pliable fish turner is the best tool to make the transfer successfully. Scatter the pink peppercorns on top of the cheese and arrange the figs, mint leaves and walnuts attractively on the platter. Serve with the radicchio leaves, patted dry.
To eat, scoop some of the sticky feta into a radicchio cup and top with a piece or two of fig, some walnuts, mint leaves, and a drizzle of extra honey.