Spinach and artichoke dip may have Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, but most of the recipes out there are American through-and-through. Frozen spinach? Thank you, Clarence Birdseye! Mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream? You betcha. It appeals to our love of the hot and gooey, and I'll be the first to say it's great stuff. But I wanted to go a little lighter this time around.This version brings an all-American dip to its imagined Mediterranean roots with fresh spinach and garlic, olive oil and Greek yogurt.
Tastes Of The Mediterranean
You only need to follow a recipe once or twice when making tzatziki before the process becomes almost automatic. Thick tangy yogurt; crisp, sweet cucumber; pungent garlic and dill; sunny lemon. The formula, a staging ground for countless dip platters and a condiment for the thousands of gyros dished up daily, is as familiar to us now as salsa and ketchup. And its preparation is about as intuitive—recipes matter less than solid ingredients and a willingness to dip a tasting finger along the way.
Muhammara is a spread composed of roasted red peppers and walnuts. It's soaked and bound with a healthy amount of olive oil and nar ekşisi, pomegranate juice reduced to a thick syrup. It's tart, sweet, and rich—a salad dressing all on its own. Surprisingly affordable and versatile, it demands inclusion in your pantry. Kick out a vinegar if you have to.
Just because I like my white bean spread simple doesn't mean I like it boring. My favorite seasoning is za'atar, a blend of dried herbs (usually thyme, sometimes with others), sesame seeds, and spices like sumac.
Baba ghanoush is a late summer dream, a brilliant balance of flavor and texture. It's light but creamy, kissed by smoke, lemon, and garlic. Tahini gives it body and olive oil lends a fruity finish. And once you get the technique down—which is really just roasting an eggplant to death—you can vary it however you like. This is my version, but different tastes prefer different balances. Taste frequently and make this your own. I've suggested some add-ins to heighten specific dimensions of baba ghanoush's complex flavor profile.