Let's talk about dip - Crab dip

Let’s talk about dip, yes? I like dip. A lot.
If you are coming to mine for dinner likelihood is that you will be presented with a bowl of homemade dip as an enticing opener to our evening together. I will toast pita triangles, get out a bag of crisps and might even crack open a pack of carrot sticks (frankly, if I’m making you dinner mid-week AND presenting you with freshly made dip you will not judge me for using pre-cut carrots), arrange them artfully on a serving dish and nest amongst them a bowl filled with something of the savoury belief. Sometimes it will be vegetarian and sometimes it will contain animal flesh. Most times it will be made of whatever I have in my cupboard and what I could find at the corner shop in under 5 minutes before rushing home to get ready and welcome you as if I had everything under control like a Latin American Martha Stewart. I’m not one to pre-plan when it comes to dip.
I didn’t start making dip myself until about 5 years ago. I always bought my hummus from the supermarket (the nice stuff at £2 the tub, mind) and I was really quite partial to the mayo and cheese concoctions sitting next to it with alluring and exotic ingredients such as peas and mint or pecorino cheese: all ingredients that, of course, I would already have at home. I mean, I didn’t grow up in a household that *made* dip. Yes, in Panama dip is always at the centre of your average social gathering but we buy it; we buy the nice stuff but 90% of the time we sure don’t make it. And in Italy… Well, in Italy people don’t *do* dip. They do pesto and pates and light, mouth-watering spreadable mousse but not dip per se. A shame really as perfectly crisp and seasoned breadsticks would be the ideal weapon to attack a bowl of tangy and nutty muhamara. Or at least that’s my opinion. In Panama I tend to request sour cream and mayo based dips touting spinach (plentiful) and salmon (must have been on vacation) or artichoke and bacon; we serve the dip with crackers and wash them down with ice-cold beer whilst sitting in the lanai trying to find answers to the main questions of life “Who is going to drive home after all this beer?” “How dangerous is it going to be hailing a cab at 3am?” and “Shall I go buy more ice for the cooler before the store shuts down?”. Deep. Like dip.

The ingredients in my crab dip are a mixture of memories in the kitchens of my two homes just like my every day life. There is crab (duh!) like the crabs dad would buy just caught and still alive at 6am on the beach in front of our house in Maria Chiquita from the local fishermen. There are lemon zest, garlic and chives: the flavours of our Italian barbeques mixed with pork and lamb meats and pastas and salads. There is a pinch of cayenne pepper: a nod to dad's and granddad's obsession with chili and their resistance competitions. Need I say more?

Crab dip
Serves 2

125gr cooked white crabmeat (tinned will do. Honestly, why are you making life more complicated for yourself?)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
75gr cream cheese
5ml (1 tsp) milk
10gr finely chopped chives
1 garlic clove finely chopped
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Pita bread and carrot sticks for dipping.

Roughly chop the crabmeat so that you don’t end up with big lumps of it.
Mix the crab with all other ingredients.
Refrigerate for half an hour.
Serve with toasted pita bread and carrot sticks.

Labels: , , ,