I don't remember when I first heard about whipped feta. It crept into my culinary consciousness, thanks perhaps to Gaby, or Jessica, or Ina herself. I wish I could remember; I really ought to thank whoever it was first turned me on to this snap-easy dip, tangy and creamy and ready for spring vegetable dipping.
A homemade dip is a smart thing to make at the beginning of the week and put away in the refrigerator. I carry little cups of dip to my desk and use them as an excuse to eat piles of cucumber slices and snap peas. The right dip, like this one, is also a lovely sandwich spread, and delicious scraped over toast with a slice of tomato on top.
But this whipped and creamy feta dip really shines as a party appetizer. It's so incredibly easy (blend feta and cream cheese — add more flavorings, if desired, or not). It's good served with everything from pita chips to sliced vegetables. I like to serve it in a Mediterranean trio with hummus and baba ghanoush. It can be made several days ahead and served at your leisure, which is the final and most important mark of a good appetizer. This is creamy and tangy and tasty — what more do you want at a party, or during your afternoon Snack Hour?
Whipped Feta Dip
Serves 4 to 6
8 ounces feta cheese, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
1 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 lemon, zested
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, to garnish
Ground sumac or cayenne, to garnish
Blend the feta cheese in a small food processor until it breaks up. Add the cream cheese and continue blending for 4 to 5 minutes, adding milk if necessary to keep the mixture smooth.
When the cheese is whipped and and very smooth add the lemon zest, chives, salt, and a generous quantity of black pepper. Blend to combine then transfer to a serving dish and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Dust lightly with ground sumac or cayenne, if desired.
Serve with chopped vegetables, pita chips, or or toasted baguette.
(Image credits: Alexis Buryk)