CREAMY WHIPPED FETA W/ CARROT PESTO
[ezcol_2third] [/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end]
THE PROBLEM WITH AN ANTIPASTO THAT TASTES THIS GOOD, IS…
TONIGHT, I think, a good part of the known universe in food-blogosphere, is preparing for the meticulously collaborated, epically “trashed up” baby shower of the year, for one of the most beloved stranger, whom we call friend. This is certainly, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the most happening event that I was ever invited to, for the past
one two (other than the appearance at my own birth) three-plus decades. So you see, this is big.
If you are anything like me, at the moments before what looks surely to be a gastronomically impressive party, with booze in your hands, you’d start fiddling your fingers for something to nibble on. And this is exactly where something like this, is punctually welcomed.
This is an inspiration from both Bon Appetit, as well as another stranger-friend, that I literally just made 2 hours ago and could not wait to share. An incredibly creamy, almost creme-fraiche-like whipped feta cheese, swirled together with sweet, slow-cooked baby carrot pesto freshened up with its own parsley-like fronds. This feta, I should remind you, isn’t that feta, something that you generally push with a discontented fork around a pile of cucumbers and tomatoes. You cannot imagine, after a good run in the food-processor with whole milk and white wine, how un-feta-like the feta can become. The saltiness, a prominent characteristic of this particular cheese, contrasts deliciously with the slowly sautéed carrots and the extracted sweetness, that all in all, will make a torn piece of crusty bread taste extraordinary.
Well, as I know all too well myself, the problem with an antipasto that tastes this good, is that it robs the appetite you’re saving for the main attractions. To that dilemma, I really have no answer, for tomorrow what’s in store, is also gonna blow you away.
- 11 oz (310 grams) baby carrots with fronds (weight of carrots without fronds = 7.8 oz/220 grams)
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) extra virgin olive oil, plus more to adjust
- 2 clove smashed garlic, divided
- 1 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 anchovy fillet
- 3/4 tsp light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
- Splash of tabasco sauce
- 14 oz (400 grams) creamy style feta cheese
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) whole milk
- 1 tbsp white wine
- TO MAKE THE CARROT PESTO: If you can't find baby carrots with fronds/leaves, you can substitute with normal carrots and parsley. Dice the baby carrots into small chunks and reserve the fronds/leaves. You have about 1 1/2 cup diced carrots. Add the carrots, extra virgin olive oil, 1 smashed garlic (leave another one for later), fresh thyme leaves, salt, ground black pepper and ground turmeric in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 ~ 20 min, until the carrots are soft.
- Meanwhile, in a stone-mortar or food-processor, puree the reserved smashed garlic, anchovy fillet, light brown sugar, white wine vinegar and tabasco sauce. Add the cooked carrots and all its oil, then pulse/pound until the mixture is coarsely ground. Add 2 more tbsp of extra virgin olive oil if the consistency is too thick. Stir in about 1/4 cup of chopped carrot fronds. Set aside.
- TO WHIP THE FETA: Cut the creamy feta (usually come in blocks) into small chunks, then add to a food-processor along with whole milk and white wine. Run until the mixture is smoothly pureed and creamy.
- Serve the whipped feta with carrot pesto and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with crusty breads.
Choose feta cheese labeled as "creamy" instead of "crumbly".
The amount of sugar added to the pesto may seem like a lot for savoury dishes, but it's needed to balance out the saltiness in the feta.
Amanda @ oven&apronNovember 4, 2014 at 12:31 AM
This looks amazing! I love feta and I would never have thought to make this.
Jodi@prairiekuchenNovember 4, 2014 at 12:47 AM
I need some bread and feta immediately. Beautiful beautiful.
Ursula @ LilVienna.comNovember 4, 2014 at 12:55 AM
Big fan. I just loooooove antipasti!
ColletteNovember 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM
What do you do with the carrot fronds? Chop and scatter on top?
Thanks–this looks delicious.
mandy@ladyandpupsNovember 4, 2014 at 1:35 PM
Collette: Oh oops!! Sorry! Yes yes. Updated in the recipe now.
ColletteNovember 5, 2014 at 2:50 AM
Thank you! I was pretty convinced that I was just missing something. Glad to know that I’m not totally insane. ;-)
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarNovember 4, 2014 at 2:02 AM
I want to eat this with every meal ever. That pesto….sweet goodness!
MagdaNovember 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM
I love feta so much, I am a typical Greek I must say. Whipped feta has long been a classic Greek dip that is typically mixed with spicy green peppers or red chillies to make it spicy. (I’m sorry to mention this but I can’t control myself. Apetina is not feta by any stretch of the imagination. It has an awful flavor and nothing like a real Greek feta should be.)
That carrot pesto is something I need to try as soon as possible! Thanks for the inspiration!
mandy@ladyandpupsNovember 4, 2014 at 1:37 PM
Magda: Oh my really!!?? This is what I could find in the Beijing Grocery… Please please let me know if there’s an international brand that you would recommend? Thanks!!!!!
MagdaNovember 4, 2014 at 7:07 PM
If you can find Dodoni feta in Beijing, it would be great! It is the best one to be found outside of Greece (it is also sold in Greece and it is actually Greek). It is in brine and it retains its moisture and flavor. Reading this back, it sounds like I’m trying to “sell” it. haha I’m not! It’s the only feta I can find outside of Greece that I enjoy. I am a Greek expat living in Holland for the past 7 years, so apart from the feta my mom brings me whenever she visits, that’s the only one I eat. :)
mandy@ladyandpupsNovember 4, 2014 at 11:15 PM
Thanks! I will keep my eyes wide open for that one.
mandy@ladyandpupsNovember 5, 2014 at 4:58 PM
Unfortunately I could only find another brand “Fitaki”. How’s that one?
Aine @ Awkward Irish Girl BlogsNovember 4, 2014 at 2:24 AM
This is inspired! As much as I love hummus it’s great to have alternatives!
Rebecca @ figs and pigsNovember 4, 2014 at 2:47 AM
I would never have thought to do this with feta it looks so good I’m making this for sure.
Valentina @HortusNovember 4, 2014 at 5:59 AM
I never thought there would come a day when I’d pin one of your recipes in the ‘recipes to make’ category rather than in ‘food porn/dark foods’. I love this so, so, sooooooo much <3
(Though I NEED some of the noodles in this blog in my life and I absolutely want to try some at some point)
mandy@ladyandpupsNovember 4, 2014 at 1:40 PM
Valentina: Hahahaa!!! I know what you mean! Your recipes are always in the “I really really should eat this” category, in the best of ways!
Pamela In TokyoNovember 4, 2014 at 7:14 AM
I am so limited here in the hinterlands on the outskirts of Tokyo. I could go all the way to the other side of Tokyo, spending $15.00 on trains and subways, 3 changes just to get there, to get to a big foreign food super market that might have all the ingridents. But, and this a big but, I might just be able to get real Greek feta in an imported foods shop not too far from where I live. Maybe, maybe, maybe! But I don’t know if it will be creamy. And I don’t have a Kitchenaid so I will have to use a pestle and mortar to blend it. But this looks soooo worth it! I love that creamy orange color, too!
DaveNovember 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM
Will pumpkin work as well? Just thinking of variety :-)
mandy@ladyandpupsNovember 4, 2014 at 11:14 PM
Hm… I don’t see why not. Maybe pumpkin will be more “mashed” than carrots.
Marissa | Pinch and SwirlNovember 4, 2014 at 10:56 PM
First, you made me laugh with your ‘spammers choking in sriracha’ then you made me do a math problem. ;) But you made up for it with this spread / dip. There just aren’t enough recipes that include anchovy – I’m so intrigued by it with the other flavors in this! I’m hosting a a dinner get-together next week – this will be on the table!
IlonaNovember 8, 2014 at 11:08 PM
Just made this and I loved it! Here’s a piccie:
I used palm sugar instead of light brown sugar (because that was all I had on hand), which worked out fine. And as dodoni-feta is quite easily to come by here in the Netherlands, I used the good stuff instead of apetina. ;-)
Anyhow, thanks for yet another awesome recipe! -x-
Alycia@food blogitNovember 9, 2014 at 7:17 PM
Holy moly! Your photography is outstanding, and i want to eat this now. ( at 6am!)
LindaNovember 11, 2014 at 1:54 AM
Made this the other night for friends. They were mad crazy about it, falling over each other to get more. I had to slow them down lest they spoil their dinner. Sheesh.
Then they all wanted the recipe,
Next time I think I will slip a little creme fraiche into it.
ArwenNovember 22, 2014 at 2:57 PM
Looks great! Do you think it’s possible (and still tasty) to make this a day earlier before eating it?
Going to try it next week!
mandy@ladyandpupsNovember 22, 2014 at 3:26 PM
ARWEN: yes! I ate my leftovers and it was just as delicious :)
ArwenNovember 22, 2014 at 6:19 PM
SamFebruary 24, 2015 at 2:23 AM
I’m utterly in love with this recipe.
julochkaFebruary 27, 2015 at 10:52 PM
i made this for my drink & draw event this evening and it is brilliant! the complex, beautiful flavors of the carrot, the saltiness of the whipped feta are perfect together! taking it with a load of homemade focaccia. they’re gonna love it!
Ravina DaphtaryOctober 10, 2016 at 9:28 PM
Made this last night to watch the debate with friends and it was (1) ridiculously good (2) ridiculously fast (3) ridiculously beautiful. It looks fancier than it is. I used anchovy paste instead of a fillet, used crumbly versus creamy feta but just added a touch more milk, and served with crackers instead of crusty bread and it was all good. Like most things, I’m going to figure out how to turn my leftovers into a salad dressing. UNRELATED: Everything on this blog is dope.
EvaApril 4, 2017 at 4:11 AM
Have you any idea how long this would keep in the fridge? :) and could I freeze it?
mandy@ladyandpupsApril 4, 2017 at 8:02 AM
Eva, I would say 3 days in the fridge, and I wouldn’t freeze it because the texture may change.