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.
A twirl of olive oil and a tiny bit of crushed red pepper (or, since I couldn’t find mine, cayenne pepper).
Whip in enough air to make it fluffy.
It keeps well for several days in the fridge, but it needs a few minutes at room temperature to soften up again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Put feta, bleu cheese, garlic and mint into a food processor and mix.
- Slowly add olive oil and mix until whipped and creamy.
- Top with chopped pistachio nuts and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
- Serve with crackers, crostini or bread.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups spread.
- 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.