“Everybody loves cream cheese,” says Ryan Rogers, of Feast BBQ, Royals Hot Chicken, and the upcoming Bar Vetti in Louisville. Thus the timeless appeal of his hometown’s favorite spread: Benedictine, invented by caterer Jennie Benedict in the early 1900s as a filling for tea sandwiches. It can be as simple as cream cheese, cucumbers, chopped onions, and a splash of green food coloring. Rogers, though, puts some extra work into his recipe. “We didn’t just want to make a neon green cream cheese spread,” says the chef. “We wanted to build some flavor into it.” He uses both pickled and crisp, sweet-and-salty marinated cucumbers, as well as a pinch of dill. Serve it on toast with a side of brown liquor.
The Spread to Beat in Louisville this Year
Benedictine, the classic Kentucky recipe, gets a dill pickle update
photo: Jessica Fey
Dill Pickle Benedictine Spread (Makes about 3 cups)
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
Heaping 1/2 cup chopped dill pickle, or dill pickle relish
2/3 cup Marinated Cucumbers (recipe follows), chopped and drained, plus more for garnish
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. chopped dill, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Toast, for serving
4 medium Kirby cucumbers
2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. salt
For the Dill Pickle Benedictine Spread: Mix cream cheese in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix to incorporate. Keep in a sealed, airtight container for several days. When ready to serve, spread on toast and garnish with dill and more marinated cucumber.
For the Marinated Cucumbers:* Thinly slice cucumbers and place in a medium mixing bowl. Combine sugar and salt, then sprinkle mixture over cucumber slices until they tastes just barely overseasoned. Let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then drain and rinse.
*Rogers brought this recipe from New York’s Momofuku, where he worked while earning a degree at the French Culinary Institute.
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