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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lost in Translation

Foods often acquire funny names based on their appearance, sometimes silly, sometimes merely descriptive - and while those names pass into acceptance in their native tongue, they are often hard to swallow when you need to explain them in a different language. In the Lyon region of France, there is a traditional (and extremely delicious) cheese mixture called cervelles de canut, which has the unfortunate and rather gruesome translation of "silk-worker's brains". What probably started as a tasteless joke has now been memorialized for all time. The reference shouldn't stop you from making this dish, however, which is great as a snack or an easy appetizer, and comes together in just a few minutes. And if you're still feeling bothered by that name? Don't worry - it's all in your head ;-)

Ricotta Cheese Garlic and Chive Dip on Bread


Garlic and Chive Dip

Ingredients:
15 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped chives (or scallions)
2-3 teaspoons champagne vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Grate or finely mince garlic into a medium bowl, then add ricotta and mix. Drizzle in about two teaspoons of vinegar, add the chives and stir again until combined - the consistency should be thick but spreadable. Season with salt and pepper, then add a few Tablespoons of oil. Mix until everything is incorporated, then taste and adjust seasonings, oil and vinegar to your liking. Serve with raw veggies or crusty bread. Store any unused portion in an airtight container in the fridge; give it a quick stir before serving again as the dip will separate a bit as it sits.



Notes: My simplified version of cervelles is adapted heavily from Rachel Khoo and Dorie Greenspan's excellent recipes. Red wine vinegar is traditional, but I found the champagne vinegar to be delicious, and of course fresh lemon juice would be wonderful, too. Don't be too concerned with exact quantities or measuring the liquid ingredients precisely - just eyeball and adjust as you go!

>o<

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