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Benedictine

07 Oct

Benedictine

M: Not the liqueur, but rather the cucumber and cream cheese blend served as a dip or filling for finger sandwiches.  Ever hear of it?  I hadn’t, but the submitter of this recipe declares it to be to Louisville, KY what “pâté is to Paris or baked beans are to Boston.”  Given the many recipes found online and its long history, there may be some truth in that.  When I asked around about this one, several people started by telling me that it’s green.  This one is not, but it turns out green food coloring is a commonly used ingredient.  Since I have no history with this spread, I didn’t miss it one bit.

This is just a lovely thing.  Cucumber, cream cheese and a bit of onion whipped together.   It’s light, flavorful and spreads well.  Do, however, believe this recipe when it says to let the cucumber drain for a couple of hours.  It is amazing just how much water is in a cucumber and we just won’t abide by a soggy finger sandwich, now will we?  I served mine on slices of Sunbeam bread, made pretty by the use of a scalloped biscuit cutter.  Benedictine my new go to when prepping for a garden party.  Yeah, I’ve never actually thrown a garden party.  But if I do, I’m all set.

A word about recipes and measurement.  Unless I’m cooking (or especially baking) something that requires very specific amounts to be successful, I’m content with a recipe that says, for example, “one medium onion” instead of 1/2 c.  I never have half cups of onion sitting around, but the medium onions in my pantry are plentiful.  And yet, when I’m unhappy with the results, I’m quick to blame an imprecise recipe.   What can I say?  I’m complex.

In the case of this recipe, it may surprise you to hear I took pause for a moment at “1 Large Cucumber”.   I used to think I knew what a large cucumber was. In the Midwest, that’s, what, twelve inches maybe?   Down here, home gardeners keep telling me once you get up over six or eight inches, that’s not good eating anymore.  It’s chicken food.  I dismissed the first guy who told me that, but I have heard it enough times now that I wonder if Southern (or at least NC) cukes meet a different measure.  The cucumber I used for this one was of Yankee length and the results were more than satisfactory.

Recipe: Benedictine

Summary: This simple and refreshing Derby day classic can be used as a dip or, better still, as a filling for finger sandwiches. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
  • 10 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 2 T Onion, grated
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Place cucumber in a fine sieve over a bowl and put in refrigerator to drain for 2 hours.
  2. Discard liquid and combine cucumber, cream cheese and onion in a food processor.
  3. Pulse to combine
  4. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until serving.

 

 

Leave a Reply

 

 
  1. Martha

    October 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you for this! It sounds delightful & I plan to serve tea sandwiches to my book group-this filling will be perfect!

     
  2. Stitchy

    October 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I love this stuff! Seriously addictive.

    But I was shocked – SHOCKED – that you recommend discarding the cucumber drippings. It seems like there could be a cocktail in there somewhere . . . :)

    (Yankee length. Tee-hee!)

     
    • Communal Skillet

      October 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      M: Ooh. Totally busted. Don’t tell my Skillet partner. She takes that sort of thing pretty seriously.

       
  3. Susan

    October 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I moved to Louisville a few years ago, and find Benedictine sandwiches on most lunchtime menus, typically with bacon strips. And yes, the spread is typically bright green, which is a little frightening if you’re not expecting it!

     
    • Communal Skillet

      October 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks for the field confirmation! I wondered if it was strictly Derby day fare, but it sounds like it’s every day goodness (which I am very much for). I’m not sure how on board I am with the green food coloring, but man this stuff is tasty.