Easy dip recipes for snacking on spring veggies


On a recent stroll through the farmers market, a farmer presented a pod of fresh green spring peas and insisted that I pick one for a snack. I cringe when people say things like that, but reader, that pea tasted like candy. It was so sweet and had no trace of chlorophyll bitterness. It woke me up to the fact that spring produce is at its peak on the market right now, and all I want to eat for the next two weeks is raw peas and carrots and baby lettuce and just – you get the idea.

This realization couldn’t have come at a better time, because my friend Lukas Volger has just published his latest cookbook, “Snacks for Dinner”, which is full of ideas for transforming a plate of fresh spring vegetables, among many other snack foods, in a real meal. The book offers dips and spreads, pickles, crackers, and even lightly cooked meals to keep on hand when you need to fill a platter of mostly “open the wrappers” snacks. His orange-mustard marinated asparagus is one such recipe, topping you with springy spears in a tangy vinaigrette. It’s the perfect snack to reach for when the craving strikes and you want something green and healthy to go with your slices of meat and cheese.

But often my favorite snack platter is a good old refreshing plate of raw veggies enhanced with a dipping sauce that anchors all that shiny leanness with a healthy dose of flavor and, well, fat. My favorite is the simple bagna cauda, ​​which turns salted anchovies and an invigorating amount of garlic into a silky bath — with lots of butter and olive oil, mind you — for my raw vegetables. And if I want something just as rich but with more body and a bit of heat, I turn to my crispy fried onion and chili dip, which enhances the sour cream with a crispy homemade concoction inspired by the Sichuan chili made with fresh garlic, crushed chili flakes and Sichuan. peppers.

But when I want the dip to involve a little more work and have even more flavor, I make this Smoked Eggplant Dip with Ginger and Tomato Chutney. Puffed eggplants are mashed with tahini until smooth and silky, then topped with grated fresh ginger, coconut yogurt and a generous dollop of chaat masala-spiced tomato chutney . It’s vegan too, if that helps you sell the idea even more.

Most of the time, I despise raw red peppers, but I love them when roasted until smoked, then tossed with walnuts and pomegranate molasses, like in this Kurdish heşandin dip. It’s floral, rich, and nutty, and the perfect complement to all those sweet veggies I’ll be eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and wow, maybe even dessert).

Asparagus marinated in orange and mustard

The marinade is wonderful for super fresh spring asparagus. You cook it immediately, shock it in cold water, then combine it with a tangy marinade. Sweet and hot mustard gives the marinade the distinction, but you can use Dijon mustard or any other hot or horseradish mustard if that’s what you have on hand.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.

Bagna Cauda

Anchovies are the essential flavor of this hot sauce, which is delicious served over grilled vegetables or even simply on toast. Use the highest quality anchovies you can find to ensure the dip is smooth and rich.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.

Crispy Fried Onion and Chilli Dip

This dip is a fusion of my favorite fried onion dip with a spicy Szechuan chili crisp. Garlic, chili peppers and spices give the dip a wonderfully hot kick. Ground Szechuan peppercorns and MSG are optional, but if you have one or all of them, add them for a more aromatic dip.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Crispy fried onion and chilli dip in a round bowl

(Ben Mims/Los Angeles Times)

Smoked eggplant dip with ginger and tomato chutney

In this smoked eggplant dip inspired by baba ghanouj, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten grates raw ginger on top to add a surprisingly cool heat. Spoonfuls of a zesty, tangy tomato chutney lend a subtly sweet richness and a coconut yogurt lends a refreshing creaminess.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.

Heşandin Dip

Heşandin means “stuffed” and the dip is similar to muhammara, containing a mixture of mashed roasted red peppers with fresh carrots and walnuts, and flavored with hints of garlic, pomegranate molasses and a touch of chili pepper. Aleppo.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 35 minutes.

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