Thursday, November 3, 2011

Zucchini Dip




This dip would be a nice and versatile option for an appetizer for any party, especially with dry white wine.
It would also be a great companion to Raki which is Turkey's national drink.



Ingredients: (Makes about 1 cup)

  • 1 lb. zucchini (about 2), peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving/dressing
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese or Turkish "lor" cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain thick, creamy yogurt/plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced/pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pita chips / pita bread / toasted bread, for serving

 Directions:
  • Put the finely grated zucchini in the middle of a clean kitchen cloth; make a bundle with the cloth and squeeze out all the juices (you can also do this job with your clean hands by the handfuls).
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini, dried mint and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and saute about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini gets tender and caramelized (releases its juices and absorbs them back) and dried mint gives away kind of a toasted smell. Set aside to cool.
  • In a bowl, mix walnuts, garlic, yogurt, cheese and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to combine well. Mix in the cooled zucchini.
  • Serve it on a plate drizzled generously w/ olive oil, along w/ chips or bread.

Additional points:

  • Lor is a traditional Turkish cheese, a type of unsalted, inexpensive white cheese, made from the whey left over from kasar and mihalic manufacture (which are some other types of traditional Turkish cheeses). It is used in some traditional desserts and as filling for savory pastries; it is also consumed as bread spread. If you are interested, you can find lor at bestturkishfood.com or at Greek/Middle Eastern food stores. But for this recipe, you can also easily substitute it w/ ricotta cheese.
  • If you can't find or don't want to look for Greek yogurt, just put the same amount of regular plain yogurt onto a mesh strainer, place the strainer on top of a bowl. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours; you will see that the water drips down from the strainer and collects at the bottom of the bowl, while the yogurt gets thicker (or if you do not even have that much time, just let it sit from the beginning till the end of this recipe, and add the yogurt at the end).

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