Feta Cheese - A Greek Tradition

Feta cheese is a salty tangy cheese of Greek origin. It's believed that it was first made somewhere between the 8th and 6th century BC. The literal translation from Greek is "slice." It's typically made with sheep's milk, but there are versions from other countries that make it with goat and cow's milk. This, of course, alters the taste. Another unique characteristic which makes it so salty is that it is cured in a brine solution.

This traditional Greek cheese is served with the main meal everyday and it's a major ingredient in many Greek dishes, particularly the Greek salad. Greeks consume more cheese per capita than any other country in the world. It's not uncommon to see barrels or large chunks of it in markets around Greece.

It seems that any dish that features "Greek" in the title means that it has feta cheese as one of the ingredients. Here are a few authentic recipes.

Traditional Greek Salad

2 large tomatoes, washed and cut into wedges

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into chunks

1/2 red onion cut into thin rings

8 oz. feta cheese cut into chunks

8 whole pitted black olives

8 Greek salad peppers

olive oil

red wine vinegar

oregano

Arrange prepared vegetables in a large serving bowl. Pour the olive oil and vinegar over to taste. Sprinkle liberally with either fresh or dried oregano.

Tracy's Greek Saganaki

7 oz. feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped mild banana peppers

1 medium tomato sliced

1/2 lb. aged Gruyere cheese or other aged hard cheese,cut into slices

In a medium bowl, crumble the feta cheese. Add the banana pepper and mix together. Pour the mixture into a 7 cup casserole dish and spread evenly. Cover with tomato slices and then cover that with the gruyere cheese slices. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

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