Monday, January 18, 2010

Mediterranean Dip - for an appetizer or...dinner!

I think of this as a Greek version of pico de gallo. Every bite is a trip to a Mediterranean summer. You can make this lots of different ways. Just like pico or any other deconstructed dip, the measurements are to taste. You can add more cheese or omit the cheese altogether. More tomato or substitute with some roasted red peppers. And then there's the endless number of things you can add - red pepper flakes, chopped black olives, toasted pine nuts, or something I wouldn't even think of. This is after all, the point. A recipe is a beginning, not an ending - it's how nerds to get their kicks!

As far as serving, the possibilities abound there too. After indulging in Corner Bistro today (and a delicious but coronary inducing burger), I had this for a light dinner, piled onto a piece of toasted French bread that had been drizzled in olive oil and smeared with a garlic clove. I'm telling you - the combination of cucumber and tomato absolves all sins. You could also wrap this in warmed pitas for a scrumptious vegetarian dinner. And of course, there's the way I originally intended - as a dip served with rustic pita chips or tortilla chips.

Mediterranean Dip

1 medium tomato, seeded and pulped and finely chopped (just slice into quarters, then run your thumb over the pulp to scoop out the seeds/jelly part before chopping)
1/2 medium cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons crumpled feta, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
zest and juice of 1/2 large lemon (if small, use juice of the entire lemon)
teeny pinch freshly minced garlic, or more to taste
3 teaspoons olive oil

Combine all in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the flavors marry and develop. Taste for seasoning and add any salt or pepper you need. Serve as a dip, over toasted French bread as an appetizer, or in pitas.

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