Summer is made for dip. Picnics, free concerts, hikes, camping, outdoor theater, potlucks, swim meets, what have you: all great reasons to pack some dip in the cooler. And I love dip! In fact, I bet it’d be hard to find an American who doesn’t. My friend Izzy sent me a link to the Chowhound “What’s the Best Dip You Ever Had?” discussion board recently and I realized that what this website needs is some dip.
While we were scrolling through, I saw a recipe for a radish dip. It’s a puree of radishes and a block of cream cheese—the cream cheese being practically a dip requirement in some circles, along with one or two of the other popular dip bases like refried beans, mayonnaise, or sour cream—and very little else. (Unrelated, but it made me remember a vegetable dip my mom used to make when I was growing up. The base was mayonnaise and cottage cheese, and then a few vegetables—carrots, olives, scallions, and a few other things, maybe—gave it its name. But the important thing about it is that she served it in the hollow of a loaf of French bread, which made it something of a show-stopping centerpiece and appealingly portable.)
Then the other night I was lying in bed after I’d been reading Catching Fire. I was wide awake, pulse racing due to the shocking turn of events I’d come to before I had to put it down, so I decided to think of something more soothing. I remembered a recipe in the last issue of the stunning online magazine Sweet Paul for Feta Dip—just feta cheese, some olive oil to smooth it out, herbs and lemon zest. What about combining those two dips, the radish one with the feta one?
It turned out to be a good idea. It’s a crunchy dip, and a spicy one—sometimes I forget how spicy radishes can be, especially the brightly colored, knotty ones found right now at the farmers markets—and it makes for something of a balm to the warm weather, as dip should. Opt for a creamier feta, else you’ll need to add more oil to loosen it up. It comes together in 5 minutes and is delicious with crackers, toasts, flatbreads, or in the center of a crudités platter—all in all, perfect for whatever your next dip-sharing event might be.
Feta and Radish Dip
Makes about 1 cup
4 ounces feta cheese (about 1 scant cup, crumbled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 scallion, white parts thinly sliced and 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced green parts reserved
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 bunch radishes, quartered (about 1/2 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the feta, olive oil, white part of the scallion, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the radishes and continue pulsing until they’re coarsely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the reserved scallion greens, black pepper, and sugar. Serve with crackers, flatbreads, or crudités.
Kept refrigerated in an airtight container, this dip will keep for a day or two. After refrigerating, some liquid may have accumulated on the surface. You can pour it off, or give it a quick stir.