kopanisti feta mint spread

Kopanisti (whipped feta and mint spread)

3 October 2014

If I made a pie chart of the food groups in my diet, feta would have its own wedge. I use it in everything but never thought to whip it up into a spread – and who knew that with a little bit of olive oil, the crumbly cheese would whirl up into a creamy, intensely savory feta cloud? Of course the Greeks already know this. It’s called kopanisti.

I was in Seattle recently and grabbed dinner with new friends at Tom Douglas’s Greek-inspired Lola. We ordered a tableful of dishes to share, but it was the nondescript little cup of white spread, flecked with tiny bits of green, that hooked us all. Lola’s kopanisti has the usual feta and mint, with just a hint of garlic, but it also has an unexpected snap of bleu cheese.

Before I got distracted by the watermelon languishing in my fridge, this is the recipe I wanted to share with you yesterday. It takes no time to make, and it’s destined to be a regular at our fall football Saturdays.

A lot of feta, a little bleu, a handful of mint and a clove of garlic. My cheese was the crumbled variety, but you can use any kind.

feta bleu cheese mint

A twirl of olive oil and a tiny bit of crushed red pepper (or, since I couldn’t find mine, cayenne pepper).

olive oil red pepper

Whip in enough air to make it fluffy.

whipped kopanisti

It keeps well for several days in the fridge, but it needs a few minutes at room temperature to soften up again.

kopanisti

At Lola the spread is topped with balsamic glaze and chopped pistachios and served with a flat wooden spoon reminiscent of those single-serve ice cream cups. Here’s my fuzzy picture.

kopanisti lola

I tried to do the same at home too, but it kind of looks like an ice cream sundae. No one would ever hire me to make food pretty.

kopanisti balsamic glaze pistachios

I love the piquant combo, the intensely salty cheese with the syrupy glaze – but the spread is also plenty flavorful on its own. Either way you can’t help coming back for more.

And, for the record, it’s pretty great with watermelon agua fresca.

agua fresca and kopanisti

Kopanisti (whipped feta and mint spread)
Among the many dishes I sampled at Tom Douglas’s Greek-inspired Lola in Seattle, the small dish of kopanisti – a light, intensely-savory whipped feta spread – was the one that hooked us all. It looks mild but packs an irresistibly salty punch. Adapted from Online Cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (224 g) feta cheese (about 2 cups crumbled feta)
  • 2 oz (56 g) bleu cheese (about 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) good quality olive oil
  • Chopped pistachios
  • Balsamic glaze

Preparation

  1. Put feta, bleu cheese, garlic and mint into a food processor and mix.
  2. Slowly add olive oil and mix until whipped and creamy.
  3. Top with chopped pistachio nuts and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  4. Serve with crackers, crostini or bread.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups spread.

Notes

  • If you can find it, French or Bugarian fetas are great options – more creamy, less salty than Greek feta.
  • Options (in addition to or instead of bleu cheese): add 6 pickled pepperoncini peppers or 2 roasted red peppers.
  • If you make ahead and refrigerate, warm the spread at room temperature to soften before serving.
  • If you find the taste too intense, you can mix in some cream cheese for a milder flavor.

Here’s the link to a printable version.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol at Wild Goose Tea 3 October 2014 at 3:35 pm

What a deceptively simple spread. I love Feta too. BUT not as much as you. It wouldn’t be a wedge on my pie chart. Brie would probably occupy that. See recipes like this is the reason we have to keep eating dinner out at interesting places and eating at other people’s houses. Ha! I like it.

Reply

cg 23 October 2014 at 10:32 am

yes agree – so easy to get in a rut at home! nice to get new ideas. btw, you can sub in more bleu for feta if you like – i just made a bleu-heavy kopanisti for my friend who loves bleu cheese. though i did need a little more olive oil to get it the right consistency.

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Lily 4 October 2014 at 4:04 am

My family and I were in Seattle over the summer for three days and ate at Lola four times (their breakfast is also really good!) I remember seeing this spread on the menu, but we ordered the tried and true hummus and tzatziki for our three year old. I’m excited that I can now try the spread at home!

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cg 23 October 2014 at 10:30 am

hey lily – i didn’t know you were in seattle! i heard the breakfast at lola is amazing. very impressive that you ate there four times in three days – must have been a hit with the whole family. =)

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Kathy 4 October 2014 at 8:10 pm

I’m a major bleu cheese fan, so this feta-bleu combo sounds delicious. It’s so nice to know you were in my neck of the woods this summer! We live in West Seattle; I hope you got an opportunity to visit Alki Beach while you were in town. 🙂

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cg 23 October 2014 at 10:29 am

hi kathy – i was in and out of seattle, sadly! but it was a gorgeous weekend, and i did get chowder and a crumpet at pike place market before the conference started. next time i’ll have to make it to alki beach – thanks for the rec!

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Arika M. 13 October 2014 at 6:53 am

This looks amazing. I am addicted to feta!

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cg 23 October 2014 at 10:21 am

it is awfully addictive! =)

Reply

Drew 5 November 2014 at 8:03 am

Hi L,
Made this last night and served with red bell pepper (didn’t have any crackers). Delicious and thanks! This is definitely great quick go-to appetizer.

Reply

cg 5 November 2014 at 8:25 am

drew – you are awesome!! i am psyched you liked it – thanks for letting me know. 🙂

Reply

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