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Authors: Rick Rodgers

Dip It! (18 page)

BOOK: Dip It!
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what to dip
Tortilla chips,
store-bought or
homemade (page 176) •
Corn chips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground pork
Tomatillo-Cilantro Salsa (page 58)
3 mild chiles, such as Anaheim, New Mexico, or poblano, roasted (see page 8), peeled, seeded, and chopped
Salt to taste
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring and breaking up the pork with the side of a spoon, until it loses its pink color, about 10 minutes. Drain off the fat.

2. Add the salsa and chiles and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until
thickened, about 10 minutes. (The dip can be prepared up to 1 day ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat gently over medium-low heat.)

3. Transfer to a heatproof serving dish. Top with the cheese and serve hot.

Italian Mama Tomato and Pepperoni Dunk

makes 4 ½ cups

MAKE-AHEAD
: The dip can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

T
o inaugerate the first viewing of the complete DVD version of
The Godfather,
a new dip was in order. Mama Corleone would have been proud to serve this spicy tomato sauce as a dip for crusty bread.

what to dip
Baguette slices •
Crostini (page 180) •
Store-bought soft
breadsticks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
6 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup hearty red wine, such as Shiraz
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they give off their juices and they evaporate, about 6 minutes. Stir in the pepperoni and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and oregano and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes.

3. Stir in the basil and simmer for 5 minutes. (The dip can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat over medium heat.)

4. Transfer to a heatproof serving dish and serve hot.

Antipasti Salsa

makes about 5 cups

MAKE-AHEAD
: The salsa can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

P
acked with a load of Italian goodies, this chunky mixture resembles a Mexican salsa more than anything else. It’s the perfect opener to a Mediterranean-inspired menu.

what to dip
Baguette slices •
Crostini (page 180) •
Focaccia, cut into
bite-sized pieces
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
One 10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 large red bell pepper, roasted (see page 12), seeded, peeled, and chopped
2 medium celery ribs with leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
½ cup chopped Italian salami (2 ounces)
½ cup (2 ounces) chopped provolone
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (see Note)
Salt to taste

1. Combine the vinegar and garlic in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Add the artichoke hearts,
roasted red pepper, celery, basil, and crushed red pepper and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

2. Stir in the salami, cheese, and pine nuts. Season with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve chilled, with a small spoon for scooping.

NOTE: To toast pine nuts, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.

Chicken Liver and Apple Spread

makes about 2½ cups

MAKE-AHEAD
: The spread can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

G
et all those images of delicatessen chopped chicken liver out of your head. Apples and Calvados (French apple brandy, but you can use applejack, other brandy, or bourbon, if you wish) give this spread an extra dose of sophistication. It’s terrific served on crackers and other crunchy usual suspects, but try it on tart apple slices too.

what to spread
Flatbread crisps •
Matzo crackers •
Bagel crisps •
Rye crackers
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed
¼ cup Calvados, applejack, brandy, or bourbon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup heavy cream

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the apple and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook until the shallots and apple are tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken livers and cook, stirring occasionally, just until they are firm and slightly pink in the center when cut with a sharp knife, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of butter and the remaining livers. Let cool completely.

3. Heat the Calvados in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm. Carefully ignite the Calvados with a long match, averting your face. Let flame for about 20 seconds, then extinguish the flame by covering the pan tightly. Remove from the heat.

4. Combine the chicken livers, apple and shallots, thyme, salt, and pepper in a food processor; pulse to blend. With the processor running, add the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and the heavy cream. Transfer to a serving bowl or crock, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours, or overnight.

5. Serve chilled, with a small knife for spreading.

Chips and Other Dippers

A
dip without a dipper is a lonely thing. I have been known to say, “This dip is so great, I could eat the whole bowl with a spoon,” but I really didn’t mean it.

The most common way to get chips is to buy a bag and open it. Homemade chips, like from-scratch dips, are fun to make and definitely a step above what you can buy. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with store-bought
chips! Personally, I’ve never met a potato chip I didn’t like, from a bag or from my own kettle. Special occasions deserve special chips.

Beware of serving salted chips with salty dips—the salt level can become overwhelming. These include dips made with instant soup mixes, smoked fish, caviar, or salted roe (such as the Greek
tarama
in taramasalata). One of the benefits of making your own chips is that you control the amount of salt sprinkled on top. For store-bought chips, consider the unsalted or lightly salted versions. Those sturdy, ridged potato chips for dipping really are better, because the standard chip can be too thin for sturdy dips.

Tortilla chips are the perfect size and strength for dipping, and they hold up to the thickest, gloppiest dunk. They now come in an assortment of flavors and colors—just be careful to make a good match. Bean tortilla chips with bean dip is overkill.

There is a whole world of dippers beyond the beloved chip. The dipper should be compatible with the dip. For example, Mediterranean-inspired dips are usually best with pita bread or baguette slices, fresh or toasted. Dips with Asian flavors love being served with Vietnamese shrimp crackers. Pappadums are almost a must for curried dips. Tortilla chips with Provençal tapenade? I don’t think so….

A trip to an ethnic grocer will reveal an amazing assortment of creative dippers in a variety of colors and shapes that are guaranteed to jazz up the chip bowl. Most of them are deep-fried for serving (see Tips for Deep-Frying, page 169). Here are a few suggestions, culled from just one trip to my local ethnic supermarket.

COLORED TAPIOCA CRACKERS/
KRUPUK WARNA WARNI
(INDONESIAN)
Red, green, gold, and orange, these round crackers made from tapioca flour sport an unusual squiggle pattern. Deep-fry at 360°F in batches, without crowding, turning once, until puffed and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain on layers of crumpled paper towels, separating each layer with more towels.

FAR FAR
(INDIAN)
These look like colored squares of flat pasta, but they are made from potato starch, rice flour, and flour. Deep-fry at 360°F in batches, without crowding, until puffed, about 20 seconds. Drain on layers of crumpled paper towels, separating each layer with more towels.

GARLIC-FLAVORED CRACKERS/
KRUPUK BAWANG
(INDONESIAN)
These are small (¾-inch-diameter) round tapioca crackers. Fry as for Far Far.

ONION RINGS (INDIAN)
Potato, rye, and wheat flours combine to make these bright orange onion-flavored rings. Save them for thin dips. Fry as for Far Far.

PAPAD AND PAPPADUM (INDIAN)
Large, spiced round wafers made from lentil flour. Papad have less baking soda than paddadum and don’t puff as much. You may also see small (1-inch-diameter) wafers that make delicious dippers. Well-stocked Indian markets may have a variety of flavors, including cumin, chile, garlic, and black pepper. Heat about 1½ inches of vegetable oil in a deep skillet to 360°F. To deep-fry individual wafers, add one at a time to the oil, submerging with tongs, until puffed, about 5 seconds.
Transfer with the tongs to crumpled paper towels to drain, blotting each wafer gently with towels to remove excess oil. The wafers should be served whole; allow guests to break off pieces as they wish. To deep-fry small wafers, add about a dozen at a time to the hot oil and fry until puffed. Use a wire skimmer to transfer to crumpled paper towels.

BOOK: Dip It!
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