Would you like to know what disaster looks like? This is what disaster looks like.
Those shredded bits of feta and herbs were meant to bake up into crispy brown rounds to be nibbled on with a glass of wine as an appetizer at an easy Sunday dinner last night in Queens. Instead, I found myself gingerly lifting liquefied blobs of cheese off my baking sheet with a metal spatula yesterday afternoon and breaking out in an angry sweat when I realized that I'd have to trash the entire lot. All of it - the greasy, sweaty, herbed-up cheese - got dumped into the bin.
So much for the Feta Cheese Crisps expounded on by none other than Greek cooking authority Diane Kochilas in a New York Times article about that famous cheese. Kochilas got the recipe from Doherty, a chef in Philadelphia who is developing a "Greek-inspired" restaurant there. I can only hope that the Feta Crisps won't be featured on the menu, or that perhaps some recipe testing is included in the development of that restaurant.
You're supposed to pulse together rinsed and drained feta with some grated pecorino, thyme, oregano, nutmeg and black pepper and then drop spoonfuls of this mixture onto a baking sheet. The cheese dollops are baked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. You're then supposed to transfer the crisps to a wire rack to cool. I assume Doherty hoped his crisps would be a Greek version of the Italian frico, but I really have to wonder if he thought that simply substituting feta for Parmigiano would actually work despite its much wetter, softer consistency.
Luckily for me, I made the recent discovery of a delicious cheese called Crucolo (if you can buy this where you live, do so, please) and was able to proffer this to my hosts instead. Our meal of tuna steaks in a lovely ginger sauce followed by an incredible plum tart (a square of puff pastry covered with shredded almond paste and halved plums filled with mascarpone and dusted with cinnamon) all but made up for the earlier kitchen indignity. But still. Didn't anybody try to make this before it got published in the Times?