There’s something about New Year’s that makes me think of appetizers. I guess it’s because people don’t really expect to eat a ton so late at night, but in any case, it’s a nice contrast to the heavy meals of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s also perfect for me because I love small bites–you can make a variety and then have a little bit of everything.
Chips and dip are a classic party appetizer that pretty much everyone loves.In particular, I love the idea of chips and dip because you can do so much with it. Make a few different dips, serve 2 different kinds of chips, and then mix and match to your heart’s desire. I mean, crunchy, crispy, fried treats with a variety of sauces that are all about flavor (creamy, salty, sweet, fresh–you name it). What’s not to love?
This pea pesto is one of my favorite dips. It’s creamy, sweet, and a little nutty, spiked with spicy garlic and pepper. In a word, it’s surprising. I make this stuff whenever people come over, and I always make them guess what it is. Upon first sight, the comment is always, “You mean it isn’t guacamole?” But after they try it, the guesses start coming out, and I’ve heard it all–hummus, onion dip, “that stuff with the garbanzo beans,” edamame (pretty close though!), “…are you sure it isn’t avocado?” I’m not sure it’s purely the taste of this stuff, or if the admission that it’s made out of peas somehow makes people eat it up faster, but this dip is always gone by the end of the night (or earlier).
In keeping with the “last-minute New Year’s” theme of my last post, this pea pesto is something you can throw together with stuff that you probably already have in your kitchen. But the best part is that it takes no more than 5 minutes to whip this stuff up, which means it’s a perfect last-minute addition to your New Year’s spread, your parties throughout the year, or really, just your life in general.
- 10 oz. frozen peas, defrosted
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
- 3/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Serve with chips or atop warm crostini.