We’re not the biggest party peoples here at Full Fork Ahead, but we figured you might be, and maybe you’d be interested in some appetizer recipes for hungry guests. Even if we don’t party till dawn (occasionally we get to midnight – woohooo…), one thing my own family does enjoy are finger foods. We do hor’deurve dinners at our house every so often, piling our plates with tiny bites of this and that. Kind of like when you do breakfast for dinner, finger foods at the family table instead of a heavy meal can be a fun and different change-up from the norm. This is a night that even our picky kidlet of a daughter will join in enthusiastically, when we make sure to include kid-friendly appetizers, that is. This one that follows may not exactly be the best ones for kids (But who knows, maybe your kids are more eclectic than mine?), but it sure was a hit with the adults.
At first I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to find decent cherry tomatoes this time of year, but the grocer, like usual, came through and I picked up these tasty beauties to sacrifice to our stomachs.
A 7-8 ounce block of feta is cubed up next. The recipe calls for it to be cubed, but for anyone familiar with feta, it’s normally a very crumbly-textured cheese. There are more firm kinds, but the more we worked with this feta, the more it broke down. This actually worked fine for us, and I say just let it crumble. I liked the end results with the crumbled feta better than the few that stayed in a nice, neat cube.
Next, marinate your feta. Mince some shallots (the ones that look like baby onions, not the long thin green and white ones), throw in a little olive oil and some oregano, and you’re set. Pop it in the fridge and let it sit for a bit. We ended up marinating ours for about an hour. I was so surprised at how much flavor the feta absorbed. It’s such a strong flavored item itself, and I was skeptical that it would absorb much if any flavor from the shallots and oregano.
While your feta is marinating, slice each cherry tomato in half and then slice some pitted kalamta olives in half as well. You’ll slide an olive half inside each tomato as well. Feta and kalamta olives – YUM.
Use a melon baller to scoop out the innards, leaving that thin meatier portion of the inside of the tomato intact. You only want to remove the pulpy, juicy part and the seeds. Or, as I came to think of it, the part that looks like, well, a brain.
Sprinkle each cherry tomato half with salt and pepper, scoop in a tiny amount of the feta mixture, slide in an olive half, then drizzle the finished bites with olive oil and serve. These tiny mouthfuls of salty, tangy cheese and olives and sweet tomatoes are wonderful. So fresh, so irresistible.
Being so small, it seems like these would get tedious to make, but I had plenty of ingredients leftover to make more for us the next day, and once you get the hang of the melon baller it really doesn’t take much time. Speaking of time, there’s no cooking involved – suuhweeeet! – so it’s really only prep time. Hope you enjoy these!
Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Marinated Feta
Prep Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour Cook Time: None! How awesome is that? Level: easy Serves: 6-8
- 1 7- to 8-ounce package feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 pound large cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 pound pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
There was no suggested time for marinating the feta, so we resolved to marinate ours at least 30 minutes, but ended up marinating it for an hour and were very pleased with how it came out. There was plenty of feta leftover, and the next day it tasted even better. If you want to marinate the feta ahead of time, I’d say it’s safe to do it a day ahead or overnight.
If you look at the photo above of me scooping out the tomato halve with half, notice that I started at one of the strong membranes that attaches to the outer-most inside of the tomato. Starting there, round the scoop around the inside of the tomato, lifting the pulp and seeds out in one scoop. Coming at those stronger membranes from the side tended to want to tear the tomato. If you hold your thumb over the other side of the tomato where the melon baller will come out and up from the scooping motion, it’ll help to cut the other membrane as well. Once you get that motion down, what turned out to be the busiest part of making these went by pretty fast.
You might be left with a few kalamata olives and some feta – we didn’t find this to be a chore and had no problem snacking on them after the tomatoes were gone.
Last but not least, I couldn’t get fresh oregano – booo – so we used dried. Worked just fine! Although I bet fresh would be that much more awesomer.