Coming in the next few days are some recipes for chicken wings. Now, for many of us, the wings are incidental. It’s the dip that matters. And for many of us, the “dip” has to be cheesy. Thing is, blue cheese dips are often, shall we say, harsh. They have a bite that could wake the dead. And if you survive that taste overload, the salt content can drive you to an IV to save your life. What the world needs is a good, a great blue cheese dip that does not shock your taste buds or dehydrate you.
And here it is. From Wings Across America by Armand Vanderstichel, this recipe has some terrific features. First of all, it is subtle, not shocking in taste. It’s so smooth that you’ll find many uses for it beyond chicken wings: chips, veggies, even a salad. It’s a multi-purpose dip that you can create in just moments.
This dip uses sour cream, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. It’s a balanced combination that gives you a smooth base, with a hint of sourness, but is still gentle on your tongue.
Of course, this recipe is totally amenable to your personal tastes. You can add more buttermilk, toss in some onion, some hot sauce, chili powder, … Do yourself a favor though and first make this according to the recipe. You’ll fall in love and perhaps have a partner for life. And, in the end, that’s what we all want, right? [I did not put this last sentence in just to please my wife. Things are going well.]
In Wings Across America, this is called a Roquefort Dip because Armand suggests using Roquefort cheese. I’m a blue man so I substituted Saga Blue and the result was excellent.
Smooth Blue Cheese Dip
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove, mince
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate. Serve with pride.
Source: Wings Across America by Armand Vanderstichel
Tapas dishes can be simple yet delicious. Or they can be a bit complex and totally delicious. This is the latter. It’s a fabulous dish that will awe anyone who eats it. The prep time here includes peeling tomatoes, a necessary step to make sure that the texture of all the components is delightfully consistent.
This is an example of a dish that in France would be called a verrine: a “vertical” terrine. It’s layered with each layer independently contributing visually as well as to the palette.
I was very proud of this dish, just to look at it. Taste wise? It’s wonderful. On my personal scale of 1 to 10, this rates an 8 or 9. How to get to a 10? I think you can add flavor here. Some smoked peppers with the tomatoes or as a separate layer. Perhaps some onion. This dish, wonderful by itself, simply begs for you to tinker and enjoy.
The dill sauce here is almost a mayonnaise. It just lacks lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer, a splash of sherry vinegar at the end makes it brighter and, I think, a better match for the smoked salmon. As for that salmon, I posted a few days ago the idea of smoking your own at home using a Cameron stovetop smoker. This recipe is the perfect example of how that handy device can make your home cooking 3 star class.
To accompany this, Brian and I had some sparkling Cava with a splash of pomegranate liquor. Elegantly sophisticated and very gratifying. If you make this dish, you’re going to want something to wash down your pride.
This recipe comes from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega. Published last year, Book of Tapas is a treasure trove of delights like this one. You’ve had salmon with dill before, but never quite like this. I heartily recommend the book as source to inspire and please you.
Little Glasses of Salmon with Dill Sauce
Yield: Serves 6-8
Ingredients for the Dill Sauce:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon sweet mustard
- ¾ cup olive oil
Ingredients for the Tomato and Salmon Layers:
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 pound smoked salmon in one piece
- Freshly ground pink pepper
- 2 ounces salmon roe, drained
- 1 sprig dill for garnish
Preparation of the Dill Sauce:
Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl. Add the sugar, dill and mustard and continue whisking. Gradually whisk in the oil, little by little. Season to taste with salt and place in the refrigerator.
Preparation of the Layers and Construction:
Whisk the walnut oil and balsamic vinegar together in another bowl. Add the pink pepper and salt to taste and continue whisking until all the ingredients are amalgamated. Add the tomatoes and gently toss until they are well coated with the dressing. Divide the tomatoes between 6-8 glasses.
Cut the salmon into small cubes. Add a layer of salmon cubes to each glass and spoon the sauce over each glass. Top with a little salmon roes. Chill until required, then garnish with dill and serve.
As a variation, puree the salmon in a blender. Mix it with a little light cream, then make the salmon layer with this puree.
Source: Adapted from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega