Move over hummus, there's more than one dip to serve at the table. Tyrosalata is a traditional Greek dip consisting of feta cheese, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs. Within just a few minutes, the ingredients are blended together to form a smooth, creamy and mildly salty spread. Simple to execute, this is one recipe that will readily become a back-pocket dish for any occasion.
Feta is the star of the show in this dip, and the right cheese is key because not all fetas are created equal. A crumbly fresh cheese featuring a balance of salty and tangy notes, most of us know feta as the crumbled cheese scattered throughout a Greek salad or found in spanakopita, a phyllo dish filled with spinach and cheese. Feta is readily found at markets, with options produced using cow or sheep milk. Cow milk-based feta is mild in flavor compared to sheep-based feta, which is much more assertive and savory. Fat is also key. Sheep milk fat has a lower melting point than the milk fat from cows, and the cheese is much more loose than firm-textured cow-based feta. For this dip, I prefer cow feta because it creates a firmer spread.
Feta is great in small amounts, but you might be asking yourself, “Is it too salty for a dip?” It’s possible to create an overly-salty spread without a good wash. Just as you might rinse capers or anchovies before adding them to a dish, giving your feta a good rinse dramatically decreases its salinity without compromising any of its flavor. Adding fresh dill and mint gives the dip subtle, sweet hints of grass and anise, pairing well with the cheese. Serve the spread with pita bread, colorful crudités or low-salt chips or crackers.
— Dylan Simmons
DILL AND MINT FETA WHIP (TYROSALATA)
15 minutes. Makes 1 pint
2 cups (16 ounces) cow's milk feta
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1. Break the feta into roughly 1 inch pieces and place in a colander. Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Set aside to drain.
2. Transfer the feta to food processor. Add the garlic, lemon juice and sour cream, and process until the mixture resembles cottage cheese, 30 to 40 seconds. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Continue to process until the mixture takes on a sour cream-like consistency (a few lumps will remain), about 30 seconds, stopping halfway through to scrape down the sides of bowl.
3. Add the dill and mint, and pulse a few times to combine. Drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with a sprig of dill before serving. Best served 30 minutes after making.
Note: From Dylan Simmons.