Alevropita (Feta Tart)

Made with a simple batter, this savory, feta-studded tart hails from the mountain village of Epirus. Serve as an appetizer with a glass of full-bodied red wine or with a salad.

INGREDIENTS:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grappa (or vodka)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
1 cup water (drinking water)
1 1/4 cups cups flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Paprika

METHOD:

Adjust oven rack to lower third of oven. Heat oven to 500°F. Place large round paella pan (or 18″ x 13″ x 1″ rimmed baking sheet) into oven for 10 minutes.

Whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, grappa, egg, oregano, and 1 cup water in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in half of the crumbled feta cheese.

Brush remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over bottom of hot pan and add batter, spreading and smoothing batter with a rubber spatula to coat the bottom of pan evenly, if necessary. Distribute remaining feta cheese evenly over batter, and dot with butter. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Reduce heat to 475°F. Bake tart, rotating baking pan after 12 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy, about 20 – 22 minutes.* Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

VARIATIONS:

  • Add slivered roasted garlic.
  • Add halved Kalamata olives.
  • Combine peel and juice from half a lemon, 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes and 1-2 tsp dry oregano and add to half of the feta cheese. Distribute over batter.

*Depending on your oven, you may have to run the tart under the broiler to brown a little more. The tart should have a golden brown, crispy exterior.

YIELD: Serves 8

SOURCE: Chef Kalliopi Bitos, adapted by Saveur