I am keeping a promise to post this recipe after receiving many requests for it. The spread itself is addictive, tangy, salty, flavorful from shallots. But I really think what puts it over the top is the addition of pomegranate seeds scattered over the top– a crunchy burst of tart, juicy sweetness buried within the savory spread. Now I know that cleaning a pomegranate proves annoying – do it, do it frequently, follow the instructions below and keep the seeds in a covered dish in the refrigerator and you will find yourself using them to accent salads, sauces, and in this case, spreads. Once you do it a few times, nothing to it! It is hard for me to save the seeds, I can eat them all immediately with a big smile on my face! We only have a precious few months of the year (fortunately, around the Holidays) in which to indulge in this luxury, worth every penny both for taste and health benefits.
There are as many versions of this spread as there are Greeks and lovers of Greek cuisine. Some recipes call for the addition of hot peppers, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. I leave those variations for times when pomegranate seeds aren’t around. In Greek it is usually called Htipiti (try that with a mouthful of pomegranate seeds!).
- 3/4 pound of sheep feta (French or Greek, preferably found in brine)
- 3 shallots minced (about 1/4 – 1/3 C)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 T olive oil
- **1/3 C drained goat yogurt or organic sour cream for those not sensitive to regular dairy
- freshly ground pepper mix (white, green, red, and black, if available)
1 pomegranate seeded (see Note #2)
Turn on processor, drop shallots all at once through feed tube to mince. Stop processor, add feta in 2” chunks, lemon juice, and olive oil and pulse to combine into a spreadable mixture. Add sour cream or yogurt and pepper and pulse to combine. Scrape into a serving dish and top with some fresh pomegranate seeds.
Note #1: This is delicious as a topping on baked sweet potatoes as well. Use your imagination and you will find many uses. For the Takoma Park crowd, the best feta around, including Whole Foods, is a French barrel feta in brine found in the back of the Takoma Park Co-op in a white tub in the refrigerator.
Note #2: Seeding persimmons: Roll whole persimmon with some hand pressure on a counter until seeds loosen. Use a serrated knife to slice off the blossom end of the fruit, including some of the white pith but none of the seeds. Score the rind from the blossom end to the other end in 4 or 5 places. Place the fruit in a large container and cover with cool water. Let it soak for about 5 minutes. Keeping the pomegranate under water, gently break the fruit apart along the scoring lines. Pull back the rind and separate seeds from membranes. In the water, the light rind and pith will float and the heavy seeds sink. Use a sieve to skim off the debris, then pour the seeds and water into a colander. Pat the drained seeds dry and store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator until needed.
**Note: Goat yogurt is an A2 milk protein, similar to breast milk, sheep milk, and if you can find it, A2 milk from Jersey cows. Often times people with dairy sensitivities are sensitive to the casein (protein) in the A1 milk which is the most common milk in the US. Lactose intolerance is a different issue and then there are many vegan yogurts available now. However, this recipe is not suitable for those with lactose intolerance due to the A2 dairy. There might be a work-around though!