During the summer, I love meals made up of a bottle of wine and a platter of loveliness. This usually means cheese and charcuterie, but today I’m experimenting with fresh vegetable dips and produce. All of these dips are incredibly easy to whip up, and are the perfect canvasses to introduce your favorite flavors.
I used to get so upset by browning pesto, until I tried adding fresh lemon juice. Now, my pesto stays fresh and bright, and with a lovely bite of acid to lift all of the flavors.
INGREDIENTS (FRESH LEMON PESTO):
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
1/2 Lemon, juiced
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup blanched almonds
1/3 cup Olive oil
salt to taste
Combine the everything in a food processor, drizzling in the olive oil bit by bit, until you have reached the desired texture. Season with salt.
This is so incredibly simple, and practically addictive with a few slices of crusty, sourdough bread. If you can, cook the beans yourself, you’ll get such better flavor and texture this way.
INGREDIENTS (WHITE BEAN DIP):
2 cups Cannelini beans, cooked
reserved bean water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 sage sprigs
Salt to taste
If you’re going to cook you own beans, which I recommend, combine the beans in a pot with 8 cups of water. Add a few cloves of garlic, a sprig of rosemary or thyme, and a pinch of dried chili flake. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for 4 hours, or until the beans are quite tender.
Drain the beans and save the water.
In a pan over medium low heat, combine the butter and sage, and let the butter melt, foam, and then brown. Once it is fragrant and golden, immediately pour off into a glass or ceramic bowl – otherwise it will continue to brown.
Combine the beans and half the butter in a food processor. Puree, adding bean water as needed. Season with salt and drizzle with remaining browned butter.
If you wanted to load up one of these dips with heady spices, thins recipe is the perfect canvas. Cumin, paprika, chiles, fresh mint, goat cheese, honestly, there are so many ways this can be updated and tweaked.
INGREDIENTS (ROASTED EGGPLANT FENNEL DIP):
1 large eggplant, halved
2 fennel bulbs, quartered
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon parsley
Salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 425F.
Place the fennel and eggplant on a baking sheet, coating lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, until very tender and golden brown. Let the vegetables cool a bit. Scoop the eggplant out of it’s skin and place it, along with the fennel into the food processor.
Add garlic, oregano, parsley and puree. Add olive oil as needed. Season with salt.