Sticky Baked Feta with Figs Wrapped In Radicchio Cups

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There’s another heat wave in Los Angeles. That makes two so far and we’re not even to our hottest month of the year (that’s September). Which means we’re still eating tapas-style at our house. The last heat wave I featured Greek Gigantes on toast. This time I’ve got Sticky Baked Feta. Sure it’s hot but I’m not saying I won’t turn on the oven. I’ll just say I’m using the oven judiciously. Because a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, a swirl of honey and a quick blast of heat will transform a standard block of crumbly feta into an unexpectedly luscious spread. I threw in some figs and mint for added sweetness and wrapped the whole mess in radicchio cups for some bitter balance.

Served alongside a few jarred staples from the refrigerator it’s a colorful warm-weather supper.

Pretty, yes… but how does this taste? Well, now comes the hard part. As I sit here intent on pecking out just the right words to define this Baked Feta I’d like to share a little secret. Describing food is not as easy as it seems. I constantly struggle to find better, brighter, more evocative terms to keep you hungry. To aid me in this task I keep a list of foodie words. I call them my “delicious words”. A blogger should learn how to describe taste without having to use the word delicious over and over again. I have a list for “best” and a list for “perfect” too.

So when I consulted my “delicious words” this morning – the baked feta still fresh in my mind – the word sticky jumped right out and said, “eat me”! Because sticky is a delicious word. Sticky Buns. Sticky Pudding. Sticky Baked Feta with Figs. I guarantee it will stick to your fingers. You’ll probably have to lick it off your lips. Now doesn’t that sound… delicious. (Oops! I just couldn’t think of a better word). GREG

radicchioFigs and FetaFigsbaked feta Sticky Baked Feta with Figs Wrapped In Radicchio Cups

Sticky Baked Feta with Figs

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2-4Source Adapted from Frankie UnsworthPublished
Sticky Baked Feta with Figs

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

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.