Suzi's Blog

Anchovy Cream from The French Kitchen Cookbook by Patricia Wells

wc-2014_06_15_2280

This post is appearing at the demand of my wife, Suzen Mines-O’Rourke.

Things were going fine until she read this morning’s first post.

“Butterscotch sauce? You just did malted milk chocolate sauce yesterday? What is wrong with you? People want a balance of recipes on this blog. You are unbalanced. Totally unbalanced.”

“Nothing is wrong,” I said. My voice was a little shaky. It can be hard to defend a sugar addiction. “But,” I began to mount a defense, “Friday will be the 4th of July and there will be all that ice cream. I’m just being patriotic.”

“Find something healthy. Post it. Now.” Suzen issued a command.

And so I obey. Happily obey, because it is about to be a holiday weekend with parties, beverages, appetizers, and an urgent need for delicious, easy dips.

From The French Kitchen Cookbook comes the very simplest recipe ever from Patricia Wells. Anchovy Cream is a staple in Provence with each home cook and restaurant chef offering their own interesting combination of tangy flavors. This version is strikingly simple: just capers, anchovies and cream. Take them for a spin in a food processor and you are ready to go.

Use this cream for an appetizer dip or as a sandwich spread. Put it on a baked potato or use it on green beans. There are endless ways to enjoy this potent combination of anchovies and capers. Proof once again that small can still be powerful.

Anchovy Cream

Yield: ½ cup

Ingredients:

• 1 2.82 ounce [80 grams] jar of Italian anchovy fillets in olive oil, about 20 small fillets
• 1 tablespoon capers in vinegar, drained
• ¼ cup light cream or half-and-half

Preparation:

Combine the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and process to a chunky consistency.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Source: The French Kitchen Cookbook by Patricia Wells
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/50th second at ISO-320

Not Your Mother’s Onion Dip from Diane Morgan

webbed-and-cropped-11_07_09_IMG_2277

It’s mid-April. There is the chance that there will be no more snow. Time for shorts. Time for dips.

Oh, Suzen has just informed me that the picture above is of kolrabi, not onions. It’s a pretty picture. Pretend they are red onions. Do not proceed with kolrabi. My defense? I grew up with canned vegetables and never ate anything from a farmers market.

There are two ways to make onion dip. Adequate dip comes quickly, literally in a couple of minutes. Just open up that packet of onion soup mix, add in the sour cream, stir, and you are ready to dip and sip and enjoy. Truthfully, more onion soup mix has to be bought to make dip than soup. This dip is adequate, perhaps even good. It is not great.

That’s the second way to make dip, a great onion dip. It takes, end to end, almost an hour. Every minute of your investment will prove to be perfectly rewarding. This dip, courtesy of cookbook author maven Diane Morgan, is simply honed from every perspective: the ingredients, the relative proportions, the steps, the cooking times.

You’ll appreciate the difference at first taste. It may be onion dip, but it’s just so much more, not “just” onion dip. There is complexity and layering here that may be hard to explain but can easily be enjoyed.

In my kitchen I do have packets of soup mix. And I have real, fresh onions. There is no question about which path I will follow.

You can, by the way, have that first beverage of evening during the hour it takes to prepare this dip. Time flies and you should enjoy the changing rainbow of aromas that emerge as the onion complex shifts from one stage to the next.

Not Your Mother’s Onion Dip

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons pure olive oil
  • 3 large sweet onions (about 3 pounds), such as Walla Walla, Vidalia, or Maui, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 2 large shallots , finely diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • ⅓ c u p balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onions and cook, covered, stirring frequently, until the onions soften and turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue sautéing, adjusting the heat to low if the onions begin to brown, until the onions are completely softened and begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes longer.

Add the shallots and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the onions turn a beautiful caramel color, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. When the vinegar has evaporated, remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and cool about 15 minutes.

Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper to the onion mixture. Stir until completely combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

This dip may be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature, or rewarm in a microwave or in a skillet over low heat just before serving.

Source: Delicious Dips by Diane Morgan [2004 Chronicle]

Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.0 for 1/1000th second at ISO-3200