Greek Wild Oregano-roasted Tomatoes and Whipped Feta on Garlicky Sourdough

Thinking ahead for a vibrant working lunch, I drizzled a tray of lusciously ripe plum tomatoes with olive oil, a flourish of organic oregano and plenty of sea salt and placed it in a low oven for a couple of hours. As they slowly caramelised, I was immediately transported to a recent visit to Corfu old town where we came across an unpretentious taverna whose brightly lit dining room was presided over by poignant black and white photos of earlier generations, a beautiful saint pointing to words in a holy book, a frayed Greek flag and an old clock. The cook, an unsmiling and impressively efficient woman draped in a mannish shirt, plated up dish after dish from several large trays on her counter – this was very definitely her territory as anyone who tried to help her was very quickly shoved away with a flick of her arm. Here we feasted from a paper covered table crowded with plates of fragrant stuffed peppers and tomatoes, gigantes beans smothered in an oily tomato sauce and liberally garnished with dried oregano leaves, a bright stew of carrots, peas and artichokes, cool tzatziki and potatoes deep-fried in olive oil. I will never forget that lunch and I was so happy to be transported back there today.

Serves 2

Ingredients

Tomatoes:
x3 plum tomatoes, cut in half
Raphael’s Cretan extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tsp Raphael’s organic Greek oregano
Cornish smoked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste

Whipped feta:
200g feta cheese, room temperature
80g light crème fraîche, room temperature

Two slices of sourdough
1 clove of garlic, peeled
Half a lemon, zested
Fresh oregano leaves, to garnish
Dried hibiscus petals, to garnish (optional)

How I make it

Heat an oven to 150C.

Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with as much oregano and sea salt as you like (lots in my case). Place them in the oven and gently roast for one and a half to two hours – this will make your kitchen smell so dreamy that you too will be transported. Remove from the oven and set side to cool a little.

In the meantime, crumble the feta into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Add the crème fraîche and purée until the feta is super creamy and smooth.

To assemble, toast the sourdough and rub it with garlic. Spread generously with the whipped feta and place the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the lemon zest, a light sprinkling of wild oregano and hibiscus petals (if using).

For more information about Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli products, please click this link.

Suggested wine pairing from Ben, Director of Novel Wines

Good, fresh acidity is key. So is provenance. Stay where tomatoes thrive, i.e. the Mediterranean, but go for higher acidity. Ktima Gerovassiliou Estate White is a blend of zingy and smoky Assyrtiko and the tropical Malagousia grape variety. It has both freshness and mouth-watering fruit. That makes it a star with tomatoes. 

Of course, as it’s lunchtime, you could be tucking into this dish in the afternoon sun. In which case, why not treat yourself to some bubbles? The fruity, moreish Slovenian fizz Istenic Barbara Sec Sparkling is off-dry and full of green apple, peach and brioche. A real star to sip with lunches like this!

For more information about Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli products, please click this link.

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