Tomato Feta Dip Recipe

Tomato Feta Dip

[Tomato Feta Dip]

Every once in a while I get the sudden impulse to hop on a stool and spring-clean my pantry. The urge strikes with no warning, often at the most inconvenient moment, and I get pulled into the task like those cartoon characters who slip a finger into a spinning cogwheel.

I will be looking for an item that time has pushed to the hinterlands of the cabinet, and I will encounter all sorts of forgotten jars and neglected cans along the way. I will let this distract me for a second (“Mmmm! Goose gizzards! Pear and chocolate jam!”), check a few best-by dates, and freak out. Such good ingredients! So close to their official dying day! How, oh how could I let this happen!

I will clear all three floors of the exceptionally ill-conceived cabinet we use for food storage, ask the evicted inhabitants to wait on the kitchen counter as I give their lodgings a good scrub, and reorganize them by kind and by seniority, so that the ones that need to be used pronto will stand at the front.

During my most recent campaign I couldn’t save the chestnut purée or the canned ceps — their time had come, there was nothing the paramedics could do — but a large jar of organic whole peeled tomatoes did appear in extremis, and its contents were rescued into this tangy feta dip*.

I am not familiar enough with Greek cuisine (feel free to recommend a good reference book) to say if this resembles any member of the traditional mezedes family, but it was well received at the apéro, served with wedges of fresh pita. The leftovers made a fine spread for a chicken pita sandwich the next day, and when the pasta salad days return I will try it as a dressing.

* I buy my feta and pita from Pelops, a Greek deli that has locations on rue des Martyrs and rue des Abbesses, or from Heratchian on rue Lamartine, a shop that specializes in foods from the Balkans and the Near-East. Both make a fine tarama, too.

Crème de Feta à la Tomate

- 1 large jar or can (about 700 grams or 25 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
- 40 grams (1 1/2 ounces) feta cheese
- 2 fillets dry-salted anchovies packed in salt or olive oil, rinsed and patted dry if packed in salt (substitute capers if you hate anchovies)
- One handful fresh cilantro leaves (substitute flat-leaf parsely if you hate cilantro — god, you’re difficult)
- Freshly ground pepper

Crush the tomatoes open and set them in a colander to drain. Save the juices for a bloody (or virgin) mary. Transfer the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer or blender and whiz until creamy. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve with wedges of fresh or toasted pita.

The dip can be made a day in advance (cover tightly and refrigerate). It can also be used as sandwich spread or, I suspect, pasta salad dressing.

  • Wouter

    Sounds very tasty. As for your Greek book question: I have always thoroughly enjoyed the “Culinaria” series by Könemann, I own the France and US versions and recently bought the Greece version for my parents. I guess they are multilingual, because I have them in dutch but they seem to exist in English, German and maybe even French.

    Peut-etre c’est celle-ci:

    Saveurs et mystères de la Grèce

    * Collectif
    * guide (relié). Paru en 11/2004

    en vente au FNAC. Il doit ressembler ça:
    http://www.vonl.com/CHIPS/culgreec.jpg

  • http://www.a-la-louche.com Maud

    Je tombe sur ce blog savoureux.
    Thanks a lot for this very nice blog.
    I will come back to visit you again.
    best regards,
    Maud

  • http://www.rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com Rosa

    That recipe sounds wonderful and very tasty! Dips are always welcome any time of the year…

  • http://leonine194.canalblog.com leonine19

    miam it seems delicious!

  • dora

    Bonjour Clotilde,
    I’m Greek and live in Athens. I love cooking and have more then 100 cookbooks.
    To learn the basics of the Greek cuisine you should first read ‘Greek Cuisine” by Vefa Alexiadou published also in the english language. She is very popular here the last 25 years, for her books and her own TV show.

  • maggiet

    Lovely blog. Another tasty feta dip that is perhaps closer to traditional Greek food is to process 250 g good quality feta with one small to medium sized raw red pepper.

  • http://elegantsufficiency.typepad.com Stephanie

    Fabulous idea … I’m addicted to feta. A chef friend swears by Bulgarian feta and I have to say I agree: it has a creamier, more complex taste. Hate to think though, of all the air miles clocked up by the transport of imported feta into Australia. A bit of carbon trading might be in order?

  • Patty

    Clotilde,
    This sounds like an excellent idea for a meze. Having grown up on the stuff, it’s my opinion that anything can benefit from being mixed with feta! As for Greek cookbooks, Diane Kochilas is a great expert in Greek cuisine and has written two wonderful books that you should check out- The Glorious Foods of Greece: Traditional Recipes from the Islands, Cities and Villages (the recipes are laid out in interesting regional chapters) and Meze: Small Plates to Savor and Share (which sounds right up your alley). I have both books and refer to them constantly. Thanks for your wonderful blog. I’m a faithful reader and look forward to your upcoming book :)

  • http://www.cforcooking.com Jeff

    I don’t think you can go wrong with feta and tomato!

  • http://definitelynotmartha.blogspot.com mrbunsrocks

    That sounds fabulous. I love how it’s so much healthier than most dairy-based dips…..and feta with coriander….how can you go wrong?

    Merci! Ca me donne des idées……

  • http://foodonthefood.typepad.com Tammy

    I agree with maggiet above. The feta/red pepper pairing is to-die-for. Ana Sortun has a recipe in her cookbook, Spice: Flavors of the Mediterranean. I’ll have to try your tomato version.

  • http://www.justforsoulsistas.blogspot.com Robin

    Sounds fabulous!
    I have some tomatoes in my freezer from my summer garden. Maybe its time to bring them to life in my kitchen!
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Robin.

  • http://lesnectarsdemaya.canalblog.com/ Mayacook

    I can’t wait to spread it on fresh bread!

  • http://www.theroadislife.blogspot.com Lacey

    yummy!! In Turkey and Greece, feta and tomatoes are a breakfast staple!! I do something similar- I sautee a ton of garlic, purple onions, tomatos, and herbs in olive olive and then put it on top of feta in ramekins (little individual ones for a small dinner party)– and then bake it so all the flavors mix together. The guests always love it!!

    Your recipe sounds great– I always have feta around, so will give it a try!

  • The Wine Makers Wife

    OOh thats lovley! I may need to bring that to a party this weekend. Thanks!!

  • holly

    clotilde, to prevent having to throw away food that has passed its use-by date, why don’t you get a lazy-susan type contraption (http://www.stacksandstacks.com/html/10803_lazy-susan-10-diameter.htm) for your cabinets? Then you can just give it a spin once a month or so and see what you have stored up!

  • Niki The Greek

    Kali spera, Clotilde!

    This sounds fabulous and would probably make a great addition to quiche or an omelet as well! As for cookbooks, nothing beats the recipes I get directly from my family and friends. Many Greek Orthodox Churches publish cookbooks using parishioners own recipes. Those recipes are usually more forgiving and easier to follow, a mon avis!

  • Andrea-Michelle

    The caper variation made a delicious topping to baked cod. Next, I think I’ll try it for brunch inside an omelet. Or maybe as a stuffing for my baked potato-fiend fiance! The possibilities are limitless… Thanks for the continual culinary inspiration!

  • http://www.albioncooks.blogspot.com catherine

    Funny – I have the same habit of cleaning on a whim and getting totally ingrossed. I make a list of everything I have in the pantry and then plan off the list so I use things. This actually works for me!

  • Martha Nelson

    Clotilde,
    I am Greek, living in the US, traveling to Greece 3-5 times a year and cooking a lot.
    I totally agree with Patty that Diane Kochilas is a great expert in Greek cuisine. She has also written”The Greek Vegetarian” and “The Food and Wine of Greece.”
    Another book I love is “Sofi’s Aegean Kitchen” by Sofi Lazarides Konstantinides.
    One thing about Greek cooking, cilantro is not used very much. Thanks for your wonderful blog.

  • http://myfoodbox.blogspot.com lili63

    Merci pour l’adresse du greek deli in Montmartre .

  • http://dressingfordinner.blogspot.com Gemma

    That looks fabulous. I recently made baked feta with some olive oil, lemon juice and red onion which was delicious on toasted pita bread. We recently did a huge kitchen clear out and it was terrifying how much stuff we had lurking in our cupboards!

  • http://foodlava.com/blog/ Sim

    My wife loves greek cuisine and she also loves to ‘spring clean’ our pantry. This recipe looks good, we’ll try it out one of these days. I just found your blog and I think its great. I hope you keep them coming.

  • Katy

    “The Olive and the Caper” by Susanna Hoffman is an entertaining book on Greek cooking.

  • http://www.carablack.com Cara

    Delicious pairing, Clotilde! Can’t wait to try it.

  • http://www.mostlyeating.com Sophie

    This sounds great – I’m on the look out for portable food at the moment so I’m tempted to try the sandwich or pasta salad incarnation. Feta, broad bean and mint dip (with a bit of olive oil) is also good.

  • Diane

    How do you think this would work with sun-dried tomatoes as well as some canned? I have a big package of the sun-dried type to use up. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • http://hungryinhogtown.typepad.com/ rob

    Clotilde, your dip looks wonderful. I’m wondering if you’d try making this dip with fresh tomatoes cut in half, sprinkled with olive oil, and then roasted for several hours in a low oven. Roast it with some garlic and sprinkle it with a little thyme, and you’d only increase the “Greek-ness” of the dish. Of course, this implies you don’t have a can of tomatoes that need to be used immediately. Great dish!

  • occasional reader

    Sounds good, but I would add a bit of garlic (maybe rub the bowl) and hand chop the herbs so not to spoil the color.

    P.S. always enjoy reading your blog..

  • http://chewonthat.blogspot.com Max

    I agree with occasional reader – garlic would be a good addition. I’m worried about it being too salty with the anchovies and feta… but I’m certainly willing to try it! Sounds yum!

  • http://www.sistahcraft.typepad.com sahara

    Hey there Clotilde!

    I’m here at work,(The Times) and have come across a copy of your book! Congratulations! I’m going to put a word in, if we haven’t reviewed it yet in the magazine!

    And the best is–I have both feta and tomatoes at home. I’ll celebrate tonight with some wine. Much success!

  • Elizabeth

    Also keep in mind how wonderful feta is in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. So much more to explore…

  • http://bluekitchen.wordpress.com Terry B

    Sounds delicious, Clotilde. And thanks for the idea [and permission] to substitute capers for anchovies! Regarding the authenticity, I am such a borrower of ingredients and techniques from various cuisines that I’ve become much less concerned about authenticity than I am about flavor.

    Is your book indeed out or did Sahara get a glimpse of an advance copy? I’m definitely going to buy it–I’ll make my local library do so too.

  • http://www.ioftenwonderwoman.blogspot.com tory

    I came across your site about a month ago and I thoroughly enjoy it. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.monikakorngut.com Monika

    I love this recipe. What a great idea. And I really like that its healthy and not saturated with too much fat. This way you can enjoy it and not feel guilty. Really enjoy your site. :-)

    Monika

  • http://www.tarzile.com tarzile

    Je suis très attirée par cette crème de feta à la tomate.

  • http://www.googrec.com nadia machaira

    J’ai toujours beaucoup de plaisir à visiter votre site et quelle n’a été ma surprise en lisant votre recette de dip à la tomate et feta!
    Vivant à Paris, je viens de lancer un site qui propose des produits gastronomiques grecs que j’ai sélectionnés avec beaucoup de plaisir dans toutes les régions de mon pays. Et en coup de coeur sur la page d’acceuil, j’ai choisi … un mezze crétois à la tomate et feta qui ressemble beaucoup à votre dip! Quant à mon site, je serai ravie si vous pouviez le visiter et me donner votre feedback
    Nadia

  • http://potsdishesplants.blogspot.com potsdishesplants.blogspot.com

    This looks great. Will have to try it.

  • kasim

    You should also try the tomato-feta-walnut dip; replace the anchovies in your recipe with ground walnut and leave the cilantro aside. My family has Eastern Mediterranean roots and this dip is one of our “traditional” dishes for a Sunday brunch/breakfast.

  • shyamala

    I made it and I loved it and I had with all I could have it with…ymmmm.. :- )

  • Gourmet

    I love feta, and this dip sound great Clotilde!!
    ;-D
    thanks for recipe!

  • Mario

    I am sorry to say that I tried this recipe and it was not very good. Perhaps my feta was not of the best quality, but the dip tasted like pizza gone bad! I must have done something wrong because in principle, this recipe sounds delicious. I thing I will try using Philadelphia cream cheese instead of feta if I do this again…

  • pennie

    feta with anchovies made it too salty…a fresh red chilli would add a bit of zing to it and the cilantro could be chopped fine to give it texture!finely sliced lemon to garnish.

  • Julia

    I’m afraid I had the same experience with mine not turning out very well when I tried the walnut variation suggested by another viewer.
    But, I love your site!

  • http://lapetitegourmande@blogspot.com P

    If you are still looking for Greek cookbooks, I recommend anything by Diane Kochilas. Her books are wonderful, and I enjoy them very much!

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