Monday, November 24, 2008

Party On The Cheap: Blue Cheese Salata & Crackers

The holidays are upon us, cheap eaters, and that means holiday parties, and that usually means booze 'n apps.

Bleu Cheese Gremolata
Whether you're hosting or bringing something to share, this Blue Cheese Salata dip-type-thing will be a hit, I guarantee it, and tastes great with white wines. Composed of a thin layer of sharp cheese, minced red onion, and parsley dressed with a light, lemony oil, this ridiculously easy appetizer can be thrown together in less than five minutes and utilizes mostly pantry staples. Best of all, it comes in at a significantly lower price point than a lot of holiday appetizers (think shrimp, crab, nuts, cheese boards), particularly if you purchase store-brand blue cheese or a large container from a club store.

Have you got five minutes? Then let's get this party started.

Start off by doing all the cutting board work in one pass: dice one, smallish red onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and finely chop about three tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley. While you've got the knife out, slice a lemon in half and juice that sucker.

Now spread your cheese in a layer over the bottom of a small serving platter or plate, about ½ inch deep. Sprinkle the onion evenly over cheese, then add a thin layer of parsley across the top. (We'll save the garlic and lemon juice for the dressing.)

olive oil
And, speaking of dressing, whisk together about one-quarter cup olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and minced garlic in a small bowl or Pyrex cup. Mix well. Pour the dressing over the plate of cheese. Grind lots of black pepper over the top and...

Bleu Cheese Gremolata
...done. You can let this sit at room temperature for an hour or two before the party or cover and refrigerate for up to six hours; just be sure set it out early to take the chill off. Serve with crackers (try the store-brand Carr's Water Biscuit knock-offs) and wine.

Final suggestion: make sure that everyone at the party eats at least a little so that no guest has to worry about garlic/onion breath under the mistletoe. Cheers!

(Click here for printable recipe.)

Blue Cheese Salata Dip from BeanPlate
serves about 10-12 as appetizer

16 oz. blue cheese (or Gorgonzola or feta, crumbled)
1 small red onion, minced
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper

Spread the cheese in a thin layer over the bottom of a small serving platter or plate, about ½ inch deep. Sprinkle the onion and parsley evenly over cheese. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Pour over cheese mixture. Grind lots of black pepper on top and serve with an assortment of crackers. Can also be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, for up to six hours.



  1. That sounds delicious! Feta - yum, red onion - yum, lemon - yum!
    Thanks. This will be on my list for this holiday season for sure.

  2. Okay, here's the test: it's not even 9 in the morning and I'm reading this and dying to make it!!! Yum~ please keep 'em coming :)

  3. Ooh, yum. Everything here looks so delicious and easy! Love the chicken thighs further down!

  4. Nothing says holiday cheer like CHEESE. I bet you could even find this cheese in the discount cheese section of the grocery store, making this dish even CHEAPER. And you know how I feel about cheap.

  5. That sounds AMAZING. I want to make it, but I'm a little afraid that I'll be the only one eating it (small family, we don't do too many parties). Is that a bad thing? I'm not sure.

  6. Melanie, I lOVE LOVE LOVE your recipes! I think the Mulligatawny Soup is going to change my husband's life forever.

    Here is me begging:

    I am in charge of the dessert portion of a progressive dinner party. Meaning, I need to serve something fabulous (after all, I only have one dish to provide) to twelve adults, without being home to prepare it last minute. I know you could do it with grace and elan. Can you help a sister out? Pretty pretty please? any ideas? Or -- dare I hope -- recipes?

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  8. You are reading my mind! I've got a soiree tomorrow evening with no inspiration. Now? Blue cheese & red onion, it is.

  9. (Luos? wha?huh?)

    ANYway, i made the salata for a party last night - HUGE HIT!! thank you, now i may not always be "the one to bring chips or rolls" - if you know what i mean.

  10. My Mom made this with green onions instead of red, and I could not stop eating it. I love red onions, too, but thought I'd let you know that green ones work nicely, if you have an extra bunch. Thanks for putting some variety in our menu!

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  12. I know this post is super old- but I wanted you to know that I have admired this recipe from afar and finally made it for our Memorial Day BBQ. It was a huge hit! I used feta in place of bleu and it was scarfed down in no time. I gave the recipe out to three people:) I miss your posts and hope all is well.

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