Place an oven rack on a shelf near the top third of the oven, then preheat to 400 degrees Brush a thin layer of olive oil inside an 8-ounce ramekin, small casserole dish, or any oven-safe baking pan. Place the feta on the dish and drizzle with 1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon olive oil (see notes), making sure the entire top is covered (you can optionally brush it down the sides). Bake until the cheese is warm and soft but not melted, around 10 minutes.
When the feta is almost finished baking, thin out the honey using either the microwave (around 10 secondor a double boiler, until it can easily be spread with a pastry brush.
Remove the feta from the oven and preheat the broiler. Brush the honey evenly all over the feta, then broil until the top of the cheese browns (a little char around the edges is delicious as well), anywhere from 3-7 minutes (mine took 5). Watch the broiler carefully; oven models vary greatly in intensity. If your broiler has a low and high setting, you can alternate between both to control the browning.
Remove from the oven and drizzle with some additional honey (1-2 teaspoons). sprinkle with thyme leaves and za’atar, if using.
Serve immediately with pita. The feta will firm up again as it cools, so you can return it to the oven to soften it back up if desired.
For best results, use a good quality feta cheese and a nice olive oil with fruity and/or peppery notes. I love the olive oils from Zingerman’s.If you have time, I recommend letting the feta sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before baking. If it’s right out of the fridge, it might need more time to heat through.You can use any oven-safe baking pan or dish with this recipe. My 8-ounce souffle ramekin is 4x2 inches. I recommend serving the feta in whatever dish you bake it in rather than attempting to transfer it to a serving dish. The feta will be very delicate after baking and can easily fall apart.The amount of olive oil you’ll need will depend on the size of your baking vessel. If I had used the entire amount of oil in my ramekin, it would have been swimming. 1 1/2 teaspoons was plenty. But if you use a larger dish, you can use up to the full amount. Some of the feta flavor will absorb into the olive oil and taste great with the feta.Be mindful of the hot serving dish while serving. If you’re planning to serve children, I recommend transferring their portion to a separate bowl.Adapted from NYT Cooking