Feta and Pepper Dip

Contrary to how it may seem, I do not live on sweets and cocktails alone. The savory endeavors are just seldom as exciting. This whipped feta and pepper dip, however, is worth knowing about. It involves my favorite chile, urfa. I call it the chameleon of chiles because it can go savory or sweet and takes on different qualities with each flavor profile. In this dish it plays off the smokiness of the paprika perfectly while the other peppers handle the heat. The dip isn’t incredibly spicy, so if you like a lot of heat, you can add a little bird’s eye chile to bump it up.

There is a market with an amazing deli counter near my house and they carry at least five different kinds of feta. Although theoretically you can try a sample if you ask, it is always a madhouse so it’s best to get out of there as quickly as possible to preserve your sanity. For this reason, I just chose the Danish feta at random. Lucky choice – it was super creamy and not as salty as the traditional fetas I have had. I couldn’t imagine this dip with anything else. (Although, if you can’t get your hands on some Danish feta, just be sure to drain the feta first, and I would use less lemon juice so it won’t seem overly salty.)

Whipped Feta and Pepper Dip
Adapted from Chowhound

6 small sweet peppers or 2 medium red bell peppers
1 pound Danish feta cheese
2 teaspoons Aleppo chile flakes
1 teaspoon crushed Urfa chile
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat the broiler on high.

Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems, white pith, and seeds.

Broil the peppers about 15 minutes, until they are charred on the edges.
Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them cool for about 15 minutes. This will make them easier to peel.

At this point I realized the merits of using larger peppers – less of a pain to peel!

Peel off the skins and discard. Chop the peppers into chunks.
Break up the feta into a large bowl. Add peppers and the rest of the ingredients and toss until feta is coated.
Transfer the ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until creamy.
Keep refrigerated. The dip will thicken after some time in the fridge. If you want to impress some peeps and get fancy with your presentation, sprinkle some aleppo and urfa on top. Otherwise grab some crackers and snarf away. I’m sure veggies are tasty too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
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