Recipe and photos By Cody Owens
I’m a big fan of foods that seem fancy but in reality are pretty simple. A well-executed French omelet, crab legs, tartines, a cheese board, mussels in white wine sauce . . . you get the idea. At least for me, eating these kinds of foods brings with it a certain level of, “Wow! Look at me! I’m so fancy!” but also the realization that just about anyone can make them with a little practice.
This Tomato Confit and Whipped Feta recipe definitely checks all those boxes for me. It’s minimal effort with a maximum fancy-smancy payoff. I can all but guarantee that if you bring this to a party, you will be automatically named the Belle or Beau of the Ball and people will whisper to one another about how they think you’re the next coming of Julia Child.
Is it a spread? Is it a dip? Who knows? What I do know is that it’s incredibly versatile, and you can save the extra confit tomatoes and oil and put them on just about anything. The same goes for the whipped feta. It’s herbaceous, a little sweet, a little salty, and takes maybe three minutes to come together. So, point those fancy pinky fingers to the sky and let’s get into it, y’all.
2+ dried chili peppers
1 head of garlic
Several sprigs of thyme (or any herb you like—I used chives here because I was out of thyme)
In a deep, oven-safe dish, add enough cherry tomatoes to cover the bottom. This can vary depending on the size of the dish. I like to use the cherry tomatoes that are still on the vine because I like the presentation of this on the plate.
Add the head of garlic (cut crosswise), herbs, peppers, and salt
Pour enough olive oil into the dish to cover most of the tomatoes. It’s OK if some of the tops are exposed because they will cook down eventually.
Bake in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and a half. Pull it and let it cool.
1 block of feta
Roughly the same amount of Greek yogurt (maybe three big scoops. The main thing is to use roughly the same amount of yogurt and feta, so you can scale this up or down.)
1 tablespoon of honey
A handful each of fresh dill, parsley, and chives (save some for serving)
A big pinch of salt
In a food processor, add all the ingredients and blitz them for at least a minute, stopping every so often to scrape the sides and make sure everything is getting mixed up. Keep going until it’s airy and seems “fluffy.”
I like to throw it in the fridge before serving to let it get nice and chilled.
To serve, spread onto a plate. Add the tomatoes on top with some of the oil and serve with whatever kind of bread you like. Also great with crudités or anything you like to dip.
BONUS RECIPE! (Kinda)
One of my favorite things to do with the leftovers is to get some pita bread and fill it with the whipped feta, cucumbers (I used pickled zucchinis here because I had some), grilled chicken, confit tomatoes, and fresh herbs.