The recipes I get most excited about are those with a high impressiveness-to-effort ratio — that is they elicit big oohs and aahs from guests but require hardly any work. This dish ranks well toward the top on that list.
To make it, all you need to do is slice a block of feta cheese into half-inch-thick planks and chop a couple of teaspoons of fresh herbs. I call for parsley and dill here, but you could add or substitute chives, basil or cilantro if you like.
The slab of feta, freckled with crushed red pepper flakes and ground black pepper, emerges from the oven warm and soft — almost custardlike — ready to be sprinkled with the fresh herbs. Served right in its baking vessel, it couldn’t be easier or more attractive.
It’s a relatively healthful option, too. That’s because feta cheese naturally has fewer calories and less saturated fat than brie, the other cheese we tend to serve melted right out of the oven, and because it is accompanied here by an array of crisp, seasonal vegetables (and some pita chips), which keep the overall dish fresh, colorful and light.