Serves: Makes 12 servings
- 2½ pounds mixed vegetables (carrots, celery, turnips, cauliflower, cucumber, green and/or red bell peppers, green beans)
Spicy Red Pepper Dip
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 2 teaspoons harissa
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 4 ounces Roquefort cheese
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Procedures:Both of these dips may be used in a variety of ways. The red pepper dip is a great option for dunking Smoky Moroccan Meatballs,and can also be tossed with freshly steamed green beans or cauliflower for a zesty finish. The Roquefort dip, thinned with a little milk, makes an ideal salad dressing. This is a good time to splurge on imported Roquefort cheese or other top-quality crumbly blue cheese (creamier Cambozola will not work well here).
- For the red pepper dip, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for about 1 minute, until tender but not browned. Set aside to cool. Combine the oil mixture, roasted pepper, mascarpone, harissa, and lemon zest in a food processor. Process to a smooth paste, scraping down the side once or twice. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Season to taste with salt, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- For the Roquefort dip, combine the Roquefort, cream cheese, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, onion, garlic, and tarragon in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the side once or twice. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Trim and prepare the vegetables as needed: Cut carrots, celery, and turnips into sticks; break cauliflower into small florets; cut cucumber in slices on the bias; core, seed, and slice bell peppers; and blanch green beans for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Set the dips on a large platter, or transfer them to smaller individual dishes and set on individual plates. Arrange the vegetables around the dips and serve.