Anna Mintz is a Senior Publicist for Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, and is an editor for The Recipe Club. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives in New York City and loves exploring NYC’s restaurant scene and trying out new recipes in her own kitchen.
When my friend Carly invited a group over for dinner last week, I immediately knew what I wanted my contribution to be: Broccoli and Onion Dip from Old-School Comfort Food (Clarkson Potter, April 2013), the brand-new cookbook from Food Network star and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. I’d had my eye on this recipe for months, and I was dying for an excuse to make it for a group!
Chipping and dipping is an iconic American pastime that I knew everyone would enjoy at the dinner party. Plus, I am a huge broccoli fan, so this recipe jumped right out at me as a delicious and new way to incorporate the vegetable into my daily diet. Making the dip was really easy; the basic steps are: cooking the broccoli with white wine and cumin seeds, caramelizing the red onions, and whipping all the ingredients up in a food processor. Simple!
The sour cream and caramelized onion flavors of the dip seemed like a new twist on the popular French onion dip, so I decided to serve it with Ruffles — a classic combination. The Ruffles added the perfect crunchy, salty touch, but you could also serve the dip with pita chips, crackers, or whatever you have on hand.
Broccoli and Onion Dip
Recipe from Old-School Comfort Food by Alex Guarnaschelli
Makes 3 cups
1 small head broccoli (about 12 ounces)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
3 medium garlic cloves, grated
¼ dry white wine
2 medium red onions, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
4 ounces cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia
½ cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s (or Best Foods west of the Mississippi)
½ cup sour cream, preferably Breakstone’s
1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, preferably Regina
1. Prepare the broccoli: Cut the stem off the broccoli and peel it like a carrot. Cut a piece from the upper part of the stem and cut into small pieces until you have roughly ¼ cup. Discard the remaining stem. Cut the florets into small, bite-size pieces. You need 3 cups combined loosely packed broccoli florets and stem pieces.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil begins to get hot, add the cumin seeds and broccoli stems. Stir and cook 2 minutes and then add the broccoli florets, garlic, and a pinch of salt, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn in the pan. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the white wine. Increase the heat slightly and cook the broccoli until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. The wine should be all but completely evaporated. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate immediately to cool.
3. Cook the onions: Wipe the same skillet clean with a paper towel and, over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onions. Season generously with salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions caramelize, 15 to 20 minutes. Do not rush this step. It also gives you time to allow the broccoli to cool down. The more the onions taste like candy, the better the dip. Set aside to cool.
4. Make the dip: In a food processor, process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream and process again until smooth. Season to taste with salt and vinegar. Pulse in the cooled broccoli until mixed but still somewhat chunky—about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer the dip to a bowl and stir in a little more than half of the onions. Put the remaining onions on top of the dip.
Old-School Tip from Alex:
Let it rest. I find that making this dip and letting it sit overnight before eating is a game changer. I also know that you may struggle with making something so tasty and putting it away. So make it, have a taste, and then stash the rest. Take the dip out of the fridge a while before serving so you can loosen it up with a whisk and it won’t be icecold when people dig in. You can also keep the cooked onions separate, warm them up at the last minute, and stir them into the dip. That addition of a warm ingredient just before serving will give the dip an even richer flavor.