This creamy dip of roasted poblano chillies and feta cheese is loosely based on kopanisti, a cheese made predominantly on the island of Mykonos. The cheese inspired a popular dip of the same name. The crumbly, sharp, and spreadable cheese is mixed with red peppers during production. (In Greek, the word kopanisti refers to something that has been “beaten”.) The dip is a mixture of feta cheese, red peppers, lemon, herbs, olive oil, and garlic. I use roasted poblano chillies and add a little cumin and a lot of coriander and mint. It tastes smoky, earthy, spicy, tangy, and fresh. Use it as a spread for sandwiches and burgers, a dip for crudités, a condiment for roasts, or a dressing for salads.
3 poblano chillies
½ tsp cumin seeds
14g fresh coriander leaves
16g fresh mint leaves
140g crumbled feta
grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp to 15-80ml water
One at a time, char the poblano chillies by placing them directly over the open flame of a gas stove or grill. Turn them with tongs as they are roasting, until the skins of the chillies are charred and blistered all over, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. While they’re hot, place them in a large sealable plastic bag to steam for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the chillies steam for too long or they’ll start to turn brown. Remove the charred skin, rubbing it off gently with the back of a knife. Cut open one side of each chilli and remove and discard the stems, seeds, and ribs. Set aside.
Toast the cumin seeds in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Put the poblano chillies, cumin, coriander, mint, feta, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a blender and purée on medium to high speed, adding water a tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Use just enough water to blend the mixture to the consistency of hummus. It shouldn’t be too liquidy. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Creamy poblano-feta dressing: For a lighter, creamy-smooth version of poblano-feta dip that also can be used as a dressing, mix equal amounts of poblano-feta dip and crème fraîche (see recipe below).
Makes about 480g
2 tbsp buttermilk
480ml heavy cream
Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare a 500ml glass jar by washing the jar and lid thoroughly. Carefully pour the boiling water into the jar to sterilise, let stand for several minutes, then carefully pour out the water.
Combine the buttermilk and heavy cream in the jar. Seal the lid and let stand at room temperature (about 21°C) until very thick, 8 to 24 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Extracted from Bäco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock (Chronicle Books, approx €27.50). Image © 2017 by Dylan + Jeni.