Authors: A Veggie Venture
Some times, a salad isn't as much about the vegetables as what's served on the side, in this case a creamy-tangy "mousse" made with feta cheese. It's almost an excuse to make an extra-special salad, one that's as beautiful as it is appetizing. That said, the creamy feta spread is one of those little "something I cooked up" that's great to have in the fridge. You'll find ways to use it, I promise. And Weight Watchers? While it tastes ever-so-rich, a whole quarter cup is only 3 points.
My friend Cindy loves the feta mousse at the St. Louis restaurant Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar, but so far, Chef Lisa Slay is loathe to share a recipe with Special Request, my weekly restaurant-recipe request columnfor the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That's okay, I respect this chef's choice: some recipes, you just want to keep in the family. Well, maybe not bloggers. When we find a recipe we love, we can't wait to share it ...
So somewhere along the way, Cindy found a recipe in Food & Wine that she thought might be close to the feta mousse at Remy's. It called for feta and heavy cream, she found this too rich. I made it with feta and buttermilk and well, honestly, fell in L-O-V-E.
If you love feta, you'll love this "mousse" – though honestly, I'm not sure that mousse is the right name, for this isn't marshmallow-light. It's got that wonderful feta tang, made smooth, made spreadable, made try-not-to-gobble-it-by-the-spoonful.
I first served it with these Greek Salads for my book club. Everyone "liked" the mousse but since I didn't have bread or crackers on the salad plates, didn't know what to do with it! So don't skip something to smear the bread onto, and, sure, something to spread it with, an appetizer knife would be good.
Or for something totally more appetizer-ish, you just might love Creamy Ricotta with Tomato-Cucumber-Corn Salad, so summery!
RECIPE for CREAMY FETA MOUSSE
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/2 hours
Makes 1 cup Creamy Feta Mousse
CREAMY FETA MOUSSE
6 ounces (about 1-1/2 cups) feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup buttermilk (commercial buttermilk or the wonderful Homemade Buttermilk)
3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 tablespoons water
Creamy Feta Mousse
Mixed tomatoes, sliced, quartered as needed
Pitted olives, halved
Very finely diced red onion
Good olive oil
Fresh oregano leaves
Bread or crackers
CREAMY FETA MOUSSE In a small saucepan, warm feta and buttermilk and let simmer until feta is slightly melted, remove from heat. Stir together gelatin and water in a small bowl, when it thickens, stir into feta mixture. Transfer to a blender and process until quite smooth. Season with a little white pepper. Scrape into a storage container and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Before serving, remove from fridge and let warm to room temperature, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until light and spreadable.
GREEK SALADS Arrange lettuce on individual serving plates. Place a dollop of Creamy Feta Mousse on the lettuce, then top with tomatoes, olive and red onion. Drizzle with good olive oil, sprinkle with good salt and oregano leaves.
Serve with good bread or crackers on the side.
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