Tango, Steve’s and my new hobby, has grown into a passion as compelling as my love for cooking. In this first blog post after way too long away, I am combining these two obsessions, offering the recipe for a dip I recently made for a dance event. It was the opening party for our tango teacher’s (Makela Brizuela) new studio. A live band played music that was so enticing; I twirled through every tanda (group of 3 to 4 songs in the same style, usually danced with the same partner).
This herb flecked Feta and Pistachio Dip offered refreshment that was as intense as tango itself. It is based on a recipe in Sabrina Ghayour’s marvelous cookbook,Persiana. I’ve been treating friends to it ever since I discovered the book about 2 years ago, and every time I serve the dip, I am asked for the recipe. It’s both exotic, and satisfying. I make adjustments to the recipe, depending on items in my pantry and fridge. I’ve used toasted almonds in place of pistachios, fennel fronds for the dill, Italian parsley for the cilantro. I like this so much, I occasionally make a batch to have on hand for snackinig, when a carrot stick on it’s own just isn’t enough to tide me over until after a tango class.
Friends, I am sorry you had to wait so long, tango friends, thank you for asking for the recipe now.
Pistachio and Feta Dip
- ¾ cup shelled roasted pistachio nuts
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 10½ oz (about 2 cups) crumbled feta cheese (I use Pastures of Eden Israeli feta, sold at Trader Joe’s)
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh dill
- ⅓ cup (or more) Greek yogurt
- 1 Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ serrano chili, seeded and chopped
- Fresh carrot sticks
- Sliced fresh fennel
- Crackers (I like Mary's Gone Crackers and Blue Diamond’s Sesame Seed Artisan Nut-Thins)
- Combine the pistachios and oil in the work bowl of a food processor. Blitz until the nuts are finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the feta, cilantro, dill, ⅓ cup of the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and chili. Process until well combined with a pleasing coarse texture, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl, about 1 minute. Thin with additional yogurt, if desiared. Season to taste with salt if needed (feta is salty, so you might not need any additional salt). Serve right away, or cover and chill up to 3 days. If chilled, let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Spoon the dip into a bowl, or spread on a plate. For a pretty presentation, garnish with herbs and pistachios. Serve with vegetable sticks and/or crackers.