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Authors: Rick Rodgers

Dip It! (4 page)

BOOK: Dip It!
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1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they give off their juices, about 3 minutes. (The dip can be prepared to this point up to 8 hours ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat in the skillet over medium heat.) Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Toss the Monterey Jack and Cheddar with the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk the cheese into the skillet and bring to a simmer.

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

CHILE CON QUESO CON CHORIZO Cut 4 smoked chorizo links (about 3 ounces) into ¼-inch dice. Cook the chorizo in the oil over medium heat, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and jalapeño to the chorizo and its drippings and continue as directed.

Rosemary Aïoli

makes about 1 ¾ cups

MAKE-AHEAD
: The dip can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.

A
ïoli simply is garlic mayonnaise, but to the citizens of Provence, it represents the very soul of their cuisine. Many Provencal communities serve a huge feast (usually as fundraisers for a church or some other charity) called
la grande aïoli,
where salt cod, snails, braised meats and chicken, and a mountain of vegetables are served family-style for dipping into the aromatic
raison d’être.
Purists will warn that aïoli must always be made by hand in a mortar and pestle, but once I peeked into the staging area of a grande aïoli, only to see the cooks making theirs with a food processor, so I have no guilt in recommending you do the same. A bit of boiling water gives the aïoli a creamier texture.

what to dip
Baguette slices • Crostini (page 180) • Breadsticks, store-bought or homemade (page 184) • Baby artichoke hearts, cooked (page 84) • Carrot sticks • Celery sticks • Cherry tomatoes • Fennel bulb, cut into sticks • Tiny new potatoes, cooked (see page 87) • Red bell pepper strips • Zucchini rounds
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1 large egg, at room temperature (see Note)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, crushed through a press
1 tablespoon boiling water
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Combine the vegetable and olive oils in a glass measuring cup. Place the egg, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the processor running, gradually add the oil, drop by drop, to make a thick mayonnaise (it should take about 1 minute to add the oil). Add the water and rosemary and process to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate to blend the flavors, at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve chilled.

NOTE:
This recipe uses raw egg. Very rarely, raw eggs have been known to contain the salmonella bacterium. To avoid possible contamination, use only fresh, un-cracked eggs. Do not serve foods made with raw eggs to people with impaired immunity, the elderly, pregnant women, or the very young.
ROUILLE
Traditionally served as a condiment for bouillabaisse, rouille (meaning “rust” in French, for its color) also makes a fine dip. Whisk 1 tablespoon tomato paste and ¼ teaspoon hot red (cayenne) pepper into the aïoli.
OLIVE AÏOLI
Stir 2 tablespoons Tapenade (page 46) or store-bought olive paste into the aïoli.

Baba Ganoush

makes 4 cups

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

E
ggplant dips are served with many variations throughout the Mideast, but this one is the gold standard. Grilling imparts a mild smokiness to the eggplant flesh. However, you can also roast the eggplants in a preheated 400°F oven until they collapse, about 40 minutes.

what to spread
Pita bread wedges • Pita Toasts (page 179) • Carrot sticks • Celery sticks • Cherry tomatoes • Cucumber slices • Zucchini slices
2 large eggplants (about 2 pounds each)
¼ cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, crushed through a press

1. Build a charcoal fire in an outdoor grill and let burn until the coals are covered with white ash. Or preheat a gas grill on High, then reduce the heat to Medium.

2. Grill the eggplants, turning occasionally, until they collapse and their skins are blackened and blistered, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

3. Cut the eggplants lengthwise in half and scoop the soft flesh from the skins into a bowl; discard the skins. Transfer the eggplant to a food processor, add the tahini, lemon juice, parsley, cumin, and garlic, and process to a puree. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate to blend the flavors, at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

4. Sprinkle the top with the parsley and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Truffled Bagna Cauda

makes about 1 cup

MAKE-AHEAD
: Bagna cauda is best served as soon as it is prepared.

B
agna cauda, a blend of oil, butter, anchovies, and garlic served warm, is not a mild-mannered dip. It is a specialty of Piedmont, a region of Italy also known for its truffles, and thinly sliced truffles are sometimes added to the pot. As truffles are not easily obtained in America, I use white truffle oil, which can be found at specialty grocers. Chill the vegetables well, so they will cool the hot dip before it finds its way into your guests’ mouths.

what to dip
Baby artichoke hearts, cooked • Broccoli and cauliflower florets, prepared for dipping (see page 85) • Celery sticks • Cherry tomatoes • Fennel bulb, cut into sticks • Mushroom caps • Tiny new potatoes, cooked (see page 87) • Red bell pepper strips
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon white truffle oil, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil, the anchovies, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring
often, until the garlic is softened and the anchovies are dissolved, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and the butter and heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted. Stir in the truffle oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small fondue pot and keep warm over a low flame. Serve hot, with chilled crudités.

Blue Cheese Dip

makes about 2¼ cups

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

E
very blue cheese has a flavor and texture that makes it unique, from the creamy richness of Gorgonzola to the crumbly sharpness of Danish blue. Use your favorite blue cheese to make this creamy dip, which is so thick you can stand a carrot stick up in it.

what to dip
Potato chips, store-bought or homemade (page 171 or 174) • Broccoli and cauliflower florets, prepared for dipping (see page 85) • Carrot sticks • Celery sticks • Cherry tomatoes • Cucumber slices • Zucchini slices
¾ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup sour cream
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon celery seeds
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. With a rubber spatula, mash the mayonnaise, sour cream, and cheese together in a medium bowl. Stir in the scallion, lemon juice, celery seeds, garlic, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve chilled.

Caponata

makes about 7 cups

MAKE-AHEAD
: The caponata can be prepared up to 5 days ahead.

T
his is one of my most requested recipes, one that I perfected while making tons of it during my years as a caterer. It definitely improves after a day or two, a convenience that is not lost on busy hosts and hostesses. While most of us think of caponata as “Italian eggplant dip,” it actually is named for the capers in the recipe.

what to dip
Crostini (page 180) • Bruschetta (page 182) • Flatbread crisps • Focaccia, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large eggplant, about 2 pounds, cut into ¾-inch cubes
Salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch dice
3 medium celery ribs, cut into ½-inch dice
2 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
One 28-ounce can tomatoes in juice, chopped, juice reserved
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
BOOK: Dip It!
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