Once you have tried quivering, molten feta with a delicious combination of flavorings, you might never go back to eating feta any other way. And you will also understand why I have stated that this recipe serves 2 when, technically, it could stretch to 4. If you really struggle to find grape leaves, don’t worry – simply wrap up the cheese in some parchment paper instead, much the way you would wrap a present. I like to serve these with flatbread.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay out all but 1 of the grape leaves on a chopping board, ensuring they overlap one another slightly. Place the feta in the center. Grate the zest off the lemon, ensuring it falls evenly over the surface of the cheese. Gently drizzle over the garlic oil, trying to keep it on the surface of the cheese, rather than allowing it to spill over the edges. Then sprinkle over the Aleppo pepper. Finally, sprinkle over the thyme leaves (or, alternatively, add whole sprigs, if you prefer).
Carefully wrap up the feta in the grape leaves to make a nice parcel and place the last remaining vine leaf on top to secure the parcel. Bake for 22–25 minutes. Serve the parcel whole and let your diners peel away the leaves at the table.
Recipes reprinted from Sirocco. Copyright ©2016 by Sabrina Ghayour. Photos by Haarala Hamilton. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
"Vegetables are perishable, so we don't have any indication of what they looked like 500 years ago," says James Nienhuis, a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin.