May was just starting, and all the recipes started showing up in my email telling me exactly WHAT I needed to have on hand for Derby Day.
Well, I wasn’t really in the mood for Mint Juleps (and I do not have any pewter Jefferson cups, anyway); and Kentucky Hot Brown is not one of my favorites, but…
Benedictine? Now, that looked interesting!
Invented in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s by Louisville caterer Jennie Carter Benedict, versions of this tasty cucumber, onion, and cream cheese sammich spread/dip can be found all around the area, with differing additional ingredients and additions.
My version skips the green food coloring and juicing the grated onion and cucumber, preferring to just add the pulp right to the cheese, along with a sliced Fresno pepper and a few other marvelous things.
By all means leave out the chile (or the seeds) if you are concerned about the heat – Fresnos are not as hot as jalapeños, but my mouth was a touch tingly after enjoying some spread on my morning bagel. Some versions call for adding chopped scallion (the white parts only) and fresh parsley; others call for serving it on a sammich with crispity bacon, and it all sounds good to me, so, go ahead and make a batch for yourself, and enjoy a bit of Benedictine in your day.
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•3 tbsp grated cucumber
•1 tbsp grated onion
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce
•1 tsp seasoned salt
•1/8 tsp Cayenne
•One Fresno chile, chopped
•Freshly chopped chive
Beat the cream cheese together with the grated cucumber, onion, Sherry Peppers Sauce, seasoned salt, and Cayenne.
Stir in the chopped Fresno chile and the chives – again, for a less zippy Benedictine, remove the seeds and the ribs from the chile, or, leave it out entirely.
Pack the spread into a lidded container and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours or – you know what’s comin’ here – always more better, overnight to allow the flavors to blend before serving on crackers, party bread, celery, endive leaves, or, go ahead and make that sammich with bacon, or simply spread some on your morning bagel or English muffin.