“OMG! What’s in this? It’s so good.” That’s what my cousin, Elizabeth, said just now when she tried this for the first time. It tends to be a crowd-pleaser. I make this appetizer whenever I have company over a holiday weekend. It’s one of my most requested recipes.
About ten years ago, we hosted a Croatian high school student for a month at our home in Nashville. His name was Bruno, and he was 16 years old. The following summer, his family invited our family to their summer home on one of the Dalmatian Islands along the Adriatic coast. That vacation will go down in our family’s history as one of the best trips of our lives.
Bruno’s parents, Lilijana and Mario, fixed all of our meals with local island products. My husband and Mario were always walking off to get honey from one friend’s house, red wine from a cousin’s house, olive oil from another cousin’s, and fresh tuna (our Fourth of July special dinner) from a friend at the pier. It was the most marvelous and delightful week.
Liliana was a fabulous cook. She probably used 15 ingredients to make all of our meals; her cooking was simple, fresh and delicious. Some nights, Lily or Mario would put equal parts of sheep’s milk feta and goat cheese, olive oil, garlic and herbs in a bowl, mix the ingredients with a fork and serve the mixture as an appetizer with bread. We devoured it! We dubbed it “Croatian Cheese.” The first thing I did when I returned home was to recreate it. I make a larger amount than they typically served because I like to make enough to feed a crowd.
Approximately equal amounts of sheep (the feta) and goat’s milk cheeses — the packages I used had 1 pound of feta and 10 ounces of goat cheese
A few sprigs each of rosemary, basil, and parsley
*3 small cloves of garlic
1 cup extra virgin, first cold pressed, olive oil
Prepare the aromatics: snip off the leaves from each herb sprig and peel the garlic.
I like to make this in a food processor for convenience. Refrigerate for a few hours to give the flavors time to meld. Serve cold.
Pulse garlic cloves first*. Add herbs and pulse. Add cheeses and pulse. Finally, add olive oil and pulse. *Start with the smaller amount of garlic. You can always add more. Uncooked garlic is much stronger in flavor than cooked.
And you are done. Fair warning: it’s garlic-y!
I buy many of the ingredients for this at Costco.
Below is my favorite memory of Croatia, besides all the great meals and fellowship, a sailing trip with our two families.
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