Step inside the charming Iron Gate restaurant in Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood and you’ll be transported back in time. The historic 19th-century townhouse is bedecked with dark wood beams and a roaring fireplace, and the cozy dining room is one of the oldest in the area.
Recognized by our inspectors for his creative renditions of southern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, chef Tony Chittum offers a prix-fixe dinner menu along with small dishes like crispy zucchini blossoms stuffed with anchovies, lemon zest and smoked mozzarella and blue crab and shrimp youvetsi—a Greek tomato-based beef or lamb stew which Chittum makes with saffron orzo and baby fennel.
The sesame crusted feta drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and honey is a crowd-pleasing appetizer at Iron Gate. Here’s how to make it at home.
Sesame Crusted Feta with Aged Balsamic and HoneyRecipe Courtesy of Chef Tony Chittum, Iron Gate, Washington, D.C.
3 cups olive oil
3/4 cup (1.75 ounces) panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces) white sesame seeds
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces) black sesame seeds
1/3 cup (1.4 ounces) all-purpose flour
One 8-ounce block of feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (about 3 ounces) honey
1. Heat the olive oil in a pot until it reaches 350˚F. While the oil is heating up, crack the egg into a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
2. Place the breadcrumbs and both sesame seeds in another bowl and mix them together.
3. Pace the flour in a third small mixing bowl and line the three bowls up on the counter with the flour being the first, egg second and breadcrumb mix last.
4. Coat the feta in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, making sure that they are evenly coated at each step. Carefully place the breaded feta into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain the feta on paper towels to remove excess oil.
5. To serve, place the feta on a plate and drizzle with aged balsamic and honey. Serve immediately.
Photo courtesy of Rose Collins.