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Crispy Feta with Walnut/Honey Tapenade

A sweet and savory bite of pan-seared feta coated in Panko, topped with a tapenade of walnuts, dates, honey and adobo. Great for the holidays or any time of year!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: adobo, dates, feta, honey, walnuts
Servings: 8
Author: Nicole Coudal

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Nuts, toasted (I used walnuts and pecans)
  • 3/4 c. Dates, finely chopped
  • 3/4 c. Honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Adobo sauce (add more, to taste, if you like it spicier)
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh lemon juice (add more, to taste, for balance)
  • 8 oz. Feta cheese block, cut into 1/4" slices (my brand measured ~ 3"X3")
  • 3-4 Tb. Cornstarch
  • 1 Egg, well-beaten
  • 1 c. Panko bread flakes
  • 4-6 Tb. Vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Add nuts to a non-stick skillet over medium/low heat and toast until fragrant (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer nuts to a cutting board to cool, then chop finely and add to a mixing bowl.
  • Add chopped dates to the same bowl, along with honey, adobo and lemon juice. Mix well, then set aside.
  • Slice feta into approximately 1/4" slices, which should yield about 12 slices. Cut each in half, which should yield about 24 squares.
  • Prepare dredging area - 1 bowl for cornstarch, 1 for a beaten egg, 1 for Panko. Coat each feta piece in cornstarch, then egg, then Panko (shaking off excess at each step). Set aside on a plate until ready to sear.
  • In the same non-stick skillet you used for the nuts, add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the pan, over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot, add feta pieces and reduce heat to medium. You may have to do more than one batch unless your pan is quite large. Add a little more oil at the start of each batch (or during the searing process, if the bread flakes soak up too much oil and there's not enough for browning).
  • When the first sides are well-browned, flip - this takes about 2 minutes. Wait another minute, then check each piece and remove/place on a paper towel when each is to your desired level of golden brown. In total, less than 5 minutes in the pan should do it.
  • Top each feta bite with a bit of tapenade and serve immediately. Refrigerate any remaining tapenade.