The Super Bowl only comes around once a year, and you've otherwise been doing really well sticking to your New Year's resolution to eat healthier, so why not go a little crazy and make a killer blue cheese dip for your Super Bowl party? The key, of course, is choosing the right blue cheese.
Zoe, the affable affineur at New York's Murray's Cheese, helped me narrow down the selection to a few great contenders. I tested three very different blues with the same base, and it may be surprising but your choice of cheese really does matter.
If you go with a standard American blue like Maytag Blue or North Hendren's Black River Blue (I tried the latter), you will come out with a very serviceable, if not revelatory, dip. These blues add piquancy without being too assertive, and have the added benefit of being relatively inexpensive too.
Stay away from the sheep's milk blues. I tried a Persillé de Malzieu, similar to Roquefort, which I thought would add a really nice sweetness to contrast the sourness of the base; but I found that the gamey quality of the cheese clashed too mightily with the sour cream, drowning out any sweet and sour harmonies that might be going on.
My favorite choice was a Mountain Gorgonzola from Lombardy. Gorgonzola comes in a few different forms, with Mountain (or Naturale) being the spiciest, crumbliest, and most flavorful of them all. This cheese was perfect in the dip, not too mild but not too assertive either, and with a characteristic twang that really made the dip something special.
Whatever blue you choose, you can't really go wrong with a dish that combines cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Your doctor might disagree, but your friends will back you up. This dip is perfect with hot wings, crudités or chips, or even as a dressing on an iceberg-based salad. And it's really easy to make too. Here's the recipe for The Ultimate Super Bowl Blue Cheese Dip, adapted from Saveur, Issue #31.