Chile con queso, whipped ricotta, and hummus reimagined for a modern dipping experience.
We’re living in the golden age of dips. Crudité platters, previously reserved for displaying rows of baby carrots and slivers of bell peppers at fusty, obligatory wine receptions, are popping up at beloved New York spots like MeMe’s Diner in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and the Grill in the Seagram Building, peppered with Lilliputian French Breakfast radishes and gumball-size Japanese turnips. And breads ‘n’ spreads are coming out of their post-’90s hibernation at spots like David Chang’s Time Warner Center Bāng Bar and perennial Carroll Gardens favorite Saint Julivert.
This creative energy can be transferred to the home kitchen, where a food processor (or an immersion blender) is just an arm’s length away. Whether you’re blitzing some creamy white beans or whipping a pint of ricotta to a delicate, airy consistency, dips are one of the easiest things to throw together the day before a party and pull out just as people start to walk in the door. Have some creamy miso, charred scallions, or dehydrated kimchi to add to these bases? All the better.
In this collection of TASTE stories, we take a look at some of the dips, spreads, and salsas that would be just as much at home in your Super Bowl spread (taking place on February 2 this year) as they would be at a swanky, Champagne-fueled Friday night party. There’s a hummus from scratch that will make the store-bought versions a distant memory. There’s an Indian take on queso, swirled with emerald-green jalapeño chutney. There’s a smoked salmon dip that will give you an excuse to dust off your best fish-shaped copper mold. And there’s plenty to riff on, whether you want to try out a touch of the preserved lemon paste you made this weekend or swirl in a bit of that deep red chile crisp you just picked up.
Whipped Ricotta: The New Crème Fraîche
All you need is a food processor and a bit of lemon juice to transform your ricotta into a completely new ingredient.
The Ballad of Chile Con Queso
From Tex-Mex to El Paso style to Laredo choriqueso, queso—the subject of a new cookbook—is not simply brick cheese and salsa.
Bring Back Salmon Mousse
The smoky, creamy, cucumber-and-radish-scaled dip is here to stay.
For Better Butter, Just Add Shrimp
Put it on a sandwich, stir it into pasta, eat it with a sleeve of saltines.
A Modern Way to Pepper Jelly
The classic ’90s cocktail-party snack is back, with some edge.
Buy a Cheap Food Dehydrator
When you can transform all (okay, almost all) of your favorite foods into powders, the opportunities are endless.
Is Making Hummus at Home Actually Worth It?
Making hummus without tahini is like making mashed potatoes without butter. You just don’t do that.
Homemade Salsa Rules
A Mexican chef turns an obtuse cookbook author into a salsa-making machine.
Grainier Than Flour, Crispier Than Bread Crumbs
One of semolina’s underrated uses is as a crust for fried vegetables and meats.
There Is No Salsa in Yunnan
Southwestern China has its own way with charred tomatoes, cilantro, and chile.