Salsa do Parmigiano-Parmesan Garlic Dip & Muhammara-Red Pepper and Walnut Dip



“You have to eat to cook. You can’t be a good cook and be a noneater. I think eating is the secret to good cooking.” Julia Child

Chi la vuole cotta e chi la vuole cruda. 
      English (Literally) Some want it cooked and some want it raw. (Equivalent) Different strokes for different folks.

Super Bowl weekend is full of preparations for the smart hosts for game day goodies, prepared in advance as much as possible is the way to go.  Back in my day of Redskins football games in DC we went nuts for football, especially when they played Dallas, but since NC has their own team now, we hardly ever see a ‘skins game so we are not such avid, rabid fans as in the past, but enjoy a game here and there, the playoffs, and of course the Super Bowl. 

Nothing spectacular in the way of football food, I’ll be making chili, Pico de Gallo, and guacamole if the avocados cooperate, everyone brings an appetizer and I’ve made Boston cream pie cupcakes for dessert.  Now that I think of it I could have made chowder, NE, Manhattan, or Long Island…I wonder, is there Jersey chowder?

Two back to back appetizer occasions and I chose Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Dip) and Michael Chiarello’s (Bottega) Salsa do Parmigiano-Parmesan Garlic Dip to take for a dinner tonight and the rest is for tomorrow. 

The dips can be made ahead of time and benefit greatly from an overnight rest before bringing back to room temperature.  Serve with baguette/crostini slices for the parm dip and crostini or pita chips for the red pepper dip.   

Salsa do Parmigiano-Parmesan Garlic Dip
Recipe adapted from Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Cookbook

Makes 3 1/2 Cups to Serve 16

  • 1/2 pound Parmesan cheese, not too dry
  • 1/2 pound Asiago cheese, not too dry
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (all I had was Mexican oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Other directions say to pulse the cheese first, but I tossed in all of the ingredients except the EVOO, pulsed to break it down a little, added the oil and pulsed to reach desired consistency.

Alternate instructions:

Remove rind and chop the cheeses into 1-inch cubes. Pulse the cheeses in a food processor until reduced to the size of a fine pea gravel. Transfer the cheese to a bowl and stir in the green onion and garlic. Add the oregano, rubbing between your fingers to release its fragrance. Add the black pepper, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Stir well. Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 4 hours before serving.  I actually just pulsed all of the ingredients at one time…

Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

2 roasted red bell peppers, or 1-12 ounce jar drained roasted red peppers
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup lightly seasoned fresh bread crumbs
1/3 toasted red walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, or plain walnuts
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tsp. pomegranate molasses
2 teaspoons clove garlic, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Crostini or pita bread for serving

Stem, seed, and peel peppers place processor bowl, add the remaining ingredients and pulse to desired consistency.  I prefer a little texture.  Taste for seasoning and adjust (do this before serving if made ahead of time).