January 25, 2015

Vegetable Marrow And Blue Cheese Dip

It’s a week until the Superbowl and as someone who doesn’t really follow the NFL I have chosen the Seahawks this year as my adopted team.  And boy was that ever a comeback last week!  That thing they did where they faked the kick and got the touchdown was craziness!  Plus I don’t think I’ve ever seen a football game go into overtime.  I was also relieved because last year I chose the Chargers and they lost in the semis (do they call them “semis” in football??).  

I hope you’ll forgive my lack of football knowledge and instead focus on my thorough understanding of football game food.  Dip a chip into my queso fundido with chorizo and onion, crunch into a not deep fried dill pickle, grab a handful of kettle corn, and take a swig of your birch beer and bourbon.  Fill your plate with chocolate dipped pretzels, spicy broad beans, dark chocolate cherry cookies, and Superbowl snacks in dessert form.  Almost makes you forget the whole reason you’re eating all this food!

Now we add this vegetable marrow and blue cheese dip to our repertoire as a (slightly) healthier option.  Vegetable marrow is in the squash family and is very similar to a zucchini. It has nothing to do with bones. 

We take the marrow and we broil it until the skin crisps and blackens, adding a delicious smoky flavour to the soft flesh within.  Sure, you could just peel and sauté the marrow until it gets soft, but that takes all the fun out of it!  Plus, who would give up an opportunity to blacken something?  Just watch out for your fire alarm.

The roasted marrow flesh is combined with garlic, blue cheese, yogurt, and a chili lemon brown butter drizzle.  

This dip might seem work intensive because it has three different components, but really, once the vegetable marrow is roasted, there is about five minutes of work left.  Have faith!

So dip deep and go Hawks!

Vegetable Marrow and Blue Cheese Dip
Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

1.2 kg vegetable marrow
1/3 cup plain yogurt
20 g crumbled blue cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp za’atar
Bread or crackers to serve

Heat the broiler to high.  Space the marrow out on a baking sheet and broil for about 45 minutes, turning twice, until skins are blackened and insides are soft.  If lining the baking sheet with parchment paper make sure it doesn’t stick out too much, because if it touches the oven coils it will catch fire.  Those things are hot!  Allow to rest until cool enough to handle.  

Once marrow is cool enough, split each open with a knife and scrape the soft insides out into a colander.  Allow to drain until marrow is just moist.  You can help it along a little by pressing on it. 

While the marrow is draining, combine yogurt, beaten egg, and blue cheese in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until blue cheese is melted and yogurt is hot but not simmering.  Set aside and keep warm.  

Mince garlic clove, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and crush with the blade of your knife against the cutting board until you get a paste.  The salt helps break down the garlic cell walls, making the crushing easier.  Set aside.

Lastly, melt butter in a small skillet until lightly browned.  Remove from heat and add chili flakes and lemon juice.  Be careful, the lemon will make it sizzle and splash!

To assemble, place the drained marrow into a bowl and mash lightly with a fork until your desired consistency.  Add crushed garlic and about half the yogurt mixture.  Stir through.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.  Spoon the remaining yogurt mixture over top, drizzle with chili lemon butter and sprinkle with za’atar.  

Serve with chunks of bread or crackers to dip.  

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