Marinated Feta with Nectarine and Tomato Fattoush

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Right at this very moment is when this salad will be at its best — with tomatoes and nectarines in their prime at the greenmarket. And it will be well worth it, friends, because this is one delicious concoction. It’s the best kind of simple — using super fresh, seasonal ingredients that don’t need anything fancy to make them taste good. For this salad (recipe from the latest Food & Wine) I got fresh feta (buy the kind that comes in a solid block for this) from Murray’s Cheese Shop (yum), which is then marinated in a combo of red wine vinegar, olive oil and crushed coriander seeds. Marry that with chopped fresh tomatoes and nectarines — an awesome combo of the super sweet from the nectarines and the more savory sweet of the tomatoes, top with fresh dill and some crushed up pita chips for crunch. The sweetness of the produce is offset perfectly by the tart, salty feta and punch of acid from the dressing. It’s an awesome combo — I ate this salad on its own for lunch and it was amazing.

Fattoush is technically the name for a Lebanese bread salad, which you technically get from the pita chips in this I suppose. I was a little skeptical of that ingredient and debated getting fresh pita and toasting it, but I ended up really liking the chips, because they’re so super crunchy and stand up to the dressing and produce better.

TW’s Tips

  • I tried this salad with both red and yellow heirloom tomato — yellow is pictured but red adds a little more variety visually
  • Use plain pita chips — I picked Stacy’s brand
  • Fresh dill=critical
  • I found the amount of feta to be a little bit much, so you could cut that back by 1/4 if you wanted to

Enjoy!

Marinated Feta with Nectarine and Tomato Fattoush

Ingredients

  • One 8-ounce block of feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slabs
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 nectarines—halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 medium heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups broken pita chips
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill, plus small sprigs for garnish

Directions

Place the feta in a small rimmed dish in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the 
vinegar with the olive oil, coriander seeds and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the feta and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning the cheese over after 15 minutes.

Transfer the feta to plates or a platter. In a large bowl, toss the nectarines with the tomatoes, pita chips and the feta marinade. Add the chopped dill and season with salt and pepper; toss again. Spoon the salad over the feta and garnish with dill sprigs. Serve right away.

MAKE AHEAD
The marinated feta can be refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

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Green Bean Salad

I’m not the biggest green salad fan (BO-ring) so I’m always on the lookout for interesting slash delicious ways to get my veg on. Don’t get me wrong — I like a great green salad now and then, but it’s just not my go-to, and if I DO go there, I need a lot of more interesting components (that means more than lettuce, tomato and cucumber, people. Yawn.), and dressing made from scratch (obviously). Anyway, this Green Bean Salad by Jamie Deen is pretty awesome — it’s got great acidity from the red wine vinegar, plus almonds for some crunch and some tangy feta…literally could make it a meal, it’s that good. I made this for a side with Couscous Stuffed Chicken Breast with Feta, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives, but it would be a perfect summer cookout recipe, or a great bring-something-to-a-friend’s-house dish since you don’t need it to be warm and it’s even better once everything marinates for a little while.

I used some awesome farmers market beans for this — both green, purple and yellow (though the purple ones lost their cool color in the cooking process…boo).

TW’s Tips

  • I’ve only got one tip: cut the green beans into one-inch pieces once you’ve cooked and cooled them — much easier to eat. And use the best, freshest beans you can find.

Green Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound slender green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the green beans and cook until tender crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spider to remove to a bowl of ice water. Drain well, pat dry and place the beans in a large bowl. Combine with the feta cheese, tomatoes and red onions.

Toast the almonds in a small skillet, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, garlic and some salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the green beans and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Couscous Stuffed Chicken Breast with Feta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

I made this Mediterranean feast for my friend Kim last week, courtesy of a Guy Fieri recipe. The chicken was unbelievably tender and juicy (perfectly done despite my paranoia about cooking chicken all the way through) and the sauce…oh the sauce. It’s what made the dish. A combo of white wine, lemon and garlic, then add in sun-dried tomatoes (the liquid makes them plump up), olives and a touch of butter at the end — it’s a TON of flavor. You’ve got to like olives to give this a go, but if you do, you’ll love it.

I’m not a big fan of stuffing chicken — it’s kind of a pain and I never manage to make the “pocket” quite right, but it actually worked out pretty well for me, despite one chicken breast being on the smaller side, which makes the stuffing part much more difficult.

End result: super tasty. I love the tang and acidity of the sun-dried tomatoes and salty olives and feta, with a little crust on the chicken…delish!

TW’s Tips

  • Try to pick chicken breasts that are on the bigger side to make the stuffing part easier.
  • I made the couscous the day ahead to save some time and reheated it in the oven in a dish covered in foil while the chicken was cooking. (I stuffed the chicken with cold couscous.)
  • Give the chicken a nice browning on the stovetop before you put it in the oven — not only gives the chicken good flavor but you cook the sauce in the same pan and scape up all the yummy bits when you deglaze with the wine.

Couscous Stuffed Chicken Breast with Feta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Ingredients
For the couscous:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (10-ounce) box couscous
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled

For chicken:

  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For the sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 6 tablespoons julienned sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish

Directions

For the couscous: In a saucepan over medium heat add olive oil, when hot, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and saute a few minutes more. Add olives and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the box of couscous, turn off heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, and season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 cups on large plate, add in 1/2 pound feta, and let cool. Keep the remaining hot to serve with chicken. (Put in covered casserole and reheat in oven last 10 minutes with chicken.)

For the chicken:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Trim chicken with a boning knife, if needed. Start at top of breast and carefully make a lengthwise cut from top to bottom and making a pocket about 2 inches, making sure not to pierce the other side of the breast. When couscous is cool enough to handle, carefully spoon couscous mixture into pocket. Even out the stuffing by gently moving it around with your hands. Wipe off any excess couscous from outside of breasts and season with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil and butter in saute pan and brown off both sides of chicken. Place chicken on baking sheet and place in oven for 20 minutes.

While chicken is baking, make the sauce.

For the sauce:
In saute pan that you cooked chicken breasts in, heat and add garlic. Deglaze with white wine and add lemon juice. Reduce by one third. Add in sun-dried tomatoes, let reduce for 2 to 3 minutes, add the olives, turn off heat, add the butter and stir to combine.

To serve, place couscous from oven on plate, cut chicken breast in half, top with sauce, crumble remaining feta cheese over.