This recipe reminds me of my Dad. Not because he likes it (though I am quite sure he would), has eaten it or has ever even heard of it! It reminds me of him because he loves blanched almonds and also feta cheese.
As a kid, I remember he would often soak raw almonds and leave them in the refrigerator to snack on. And,being Middle Eastern feta was a staple in our home.
I am not exactly sure where to give credit for this recipe. I have seen several versions of it online- each consisting of nearly the exact same ingredients, some with variations on quantity, primarily salt quantity. I specifically referred to this one and this one as I made my version of the baked "feta". I used more salt than any of the recipes I saw online as my recollection of the best fetas were those that were the saltiest.
There really are no words to describe how delicious this is! While it does require adequate planning to make in terms of time, there is nothing difficult about this at all. The results are absolutely spectacular creamy, salty goodness. I cannot wait to make this again and I cannot wait to make this for my Dad whom I am certain will love it.
I think you could easily add fresh herbs into the equation while making this and I think that it would turn out similarly to some of the soft herbed cheeses you can find in the grocery store.
This is a total winner!
Baked Almond "Feta"
1 1/2 cups blanched raw almonds, skins removed*
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth.
Line a bowl with three layers of cheese cloth ensuring the cloth is cut large enough to wrap the nut mixture completely closed. Add the feta mixture and pull up the sides of the cheesecloth and seal with a rubber band. Place the closed cheesecloth in a strainer over a bowl and refrigerate for 12 hours.
After twelve hours drain off the liquid, remove the cheesecloth from the strainer and set an oven to 350 degrees.
Open the cheese cloth and turn the nut mixture into a lightly greased oven proof bowl smooth side up. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top turns golden and begins to crack and dry.
Serve either warm, at room temperature or chilled.
*Note: To blanch almonds simply submerge raw almonds in water and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Once blanched the skins are removed easily.