The stereotypical Super Bowl party isn’t an upscale affair. The menu might consist of chips, guacamole, and buffalo wings paired with beer and soft drinks. If you’re looking to bring a classier vibe to this year’s festivities, consider adding a new dip to your repertoire. Cervelle de canut, or herbed cheese spread, is just as appropriate for a French garden party as it is for the big game, plus it’s easier to master than you might think.
This recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) comes together in a few minutes. Though not as indulgent as buffalo chicken dip, it will still be at home in your Super Bowl spread. “The cheese portion of it is just farmer’s cheese,” Roger Sitrin, ICE’s lead recreational chef-instructor, tells Mental Floss. “But that amount of fat in that very mild-flavored cheese carries all of those herbs and aromatics very well. It’s a decadent spread.”
The dip can be made with a number of fresh herbs, but ICE’s recipe calls for a classic French combination. After mincing chives, parsley, tarragon, shallot, and garlic, add the herbs and alliums to the farmer's cheese along with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Combine the mixture by hand or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Like any good party hors d’oeuvre, this recipe can be prepared days in advance. “In fact, the longer it sits the better it gets—within reason,” Sitrin says. “It is fresh farmer’s cheese, so you do want to use it within five days once you’ve made it.”
The instructions recommend serving it with crackers or a toasted baguette, but it would go just as well with crudités or pita chips. And if you have leftovers, you can always spread it on a bagel to nurse your hangover the next day.
The Institute of Culinary Education has campuses in Los Angeles and New York. The culinary school offers courses in a variety of fields, including culinary arts, pastry and baking arts, and hospitality and hotel management. After checking out the recipe below, you can read more about their curricula here.
Cervelle de Canut
Yield: Enough for a party!
1 pound farmer's cheese
2 teaspoons minced chives
2 teaspoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon minced tarragon
1 ounce shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup French olive oil or another premium olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup heavy cream, if needed
- Combine the cheese, chives, parsley, tarragon, shallot, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. You can also mix in an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle.
- If the mixture seems too thick (it can’t be easily spread with a knife), add heavy cream and mix well.
- Serve with crackers or a lightly toasted baguette.