Friday, November 13, 2009

Green Herb Dip: Dig in and enjoy!

By Helen Klein

In many ways, I’m a traditionalist.

When I find a recipe I like, I stick with it. That doesn’t mean I don’t tamper with it at all; rather, my repertoire classics are constantly evolving, updated to reflect changing palates as well as seasonal availability.

It’s no different with my family’s hands-down favorite party dip, which I have been making for far more years than I’m willing to admit.The original recipe, long gone, was snipped from the pages of a fashion magazine during the early days of my culinary apprenticeship, and compared with what the recipe has morphed into, was both pallid and insipid.

More than 30 years later, I doubt if the originators of that recipe would recognize my version, though virtually everyone who’s ever dined or attended a party at my house would, because I’ve made it so often.

Nowadays, I’m just as likely to whip up some for my son to spread on a bagel. While it’s a fabulous foil for crudités or chips, it turns out that it’s also a quick and easy homemade answer to the expensive herbed cream cheese available at deli counters. And, because it’s so flavorful, a little truly can go a long way.

The best thing, of course, is that you can mix and match with abandon, utilizing the herbs you like and eschewing the ones you’re not so fond of, or calling into service leafy green flavorings that otherwise would languish at the bottom of your crisper drawer.

The original recipe, as I recall, called only for parsley. I usually opt for basil or dill, either alone or with parsley.It really helps to have a food processor to make this dip, especially if you use bars of cream cheese as I do. If you don’t, it’s advisable to start with whipped cream cheese, which requires far less effort to manipulate.

Green Herb Dip

8 oz. cream cheese
1-2 Tbl. plain yogurt (non-fat or low-fat is fine), or sour cream
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and blanched
1 scallion, trimmed
¼ to ½ cup fresh soft-leaf herbs, such as basil, Italian parsley, dill or cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Finely chop garlic, scallion and herbs. If using a food processor, pulse to chop garlic, then add scallion in segments, then add washed and trimmed herbs.

Blend cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream, and lemon juice with herbs, garlic, scallions and salt and pepper to taste, till smooth and light, in a food processor, or using an electric mixer.

Recipe can easily be doubled if using a food processor. I usually make a double batch, and rarely have leftovers.

Note: To blanch garlic, throw the peeled cloves in boiling water for 20-30 seconds.


Anonymous,  November 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM  

I so enjoyed reading this, and it looks delish, too.

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