Friday, December 17, 2010

0 Recipe #219: Avocado-Olive Dip with Fresh Basil & Sun-dried Tomatoes

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If you're looking for a quick and easy-to-make hors d'œuvre platter to bring to a holiday gathering, here's the perfect party dip to serve alongside cut-up, raw veggies (i.e., crudités). It's something a little bit out-of-the-ordinary, instead of just serving the usual ranch or blue cheese dressing-based dip. Plus, with a lot of crowd-pleasing ingredients, it's bound to be a surefire hit with the guests!

Avocado-Olive Dip with Fresh Basil & Sun-dried Tomatoes

1/2 c. avocado, peeled, pitted, and smashed with a fork (about 1 small Haas avocado)
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, roughly torn & tightly packed
1 Tbsp. scallions (including greens) (about 1 small scallion)
2 Tbsp. Kalamata olives, pitted & diced
2 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes (i.e., the kind that's not packed in oil), diced into 1/4" squares
salt, to taste*
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Using a fork, thoroughly mash together avocado with lemon juice & Parmesan in a medium-sized bowl. Next add parsley, basil, & scallions & continue to mash until well-combined. Next, add olives & sun-dried tomatoes, season with salt & pepper (to taste), & once more mash everything together. Chill until ready to serve. Dip can be chilled overnight or for several hours if you'd like to make it in advance. Transfer to a small serving dish (i.e., ramekin, glass custard dish) and place into the center recess of a crudité party platter with dividers. Serve & enjoy!

Yield: About 1 c., or 1 ramekin-sized portion.

Chef's Notes: Be sure to add the lemon juice to the avocado mixture right after you scoop out the avocado, which will prevent oxidation, & hence discoloration of the avocado.

*There are already lots of salty ingredients in this dip -- the Parmesan, the olives, etc. -- so use the salt sparingly, or if preferred, simply omit it. I used just a pinch, or 1/16 tsp. to be precise, and found that to be the perfect amount.

Variations: To shake things up, you could also try substituting cracked green olives for the Kalamata olives or try using a mixture of different varieties. To make this recipe vegan, simply leave out the Parmesan cheese, or use some variety of vegan imitation cheese (i.e., "soy cheese" & the like), preferably something with some zing & some saltiness that approximates the taste of Parmesan.

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