MATT ARMENDARIZ

The simplest way to elevate this American classic is to start with fresh ingredients, of course. Here, some more ways to take your dip game up a notch.

March 15, 2015

The simplest way to elevate this American classic is to start with fresh ingredients, of course. Here, some more ways to take your dip game up a notch.

1. Caramelize your onions 
You can grate raw onion into your creamy base, but to make a spectacular dip with loads of sweet onion flavor, cook your onions first until deeply browned. The process is admittedly time-consuming but absolutely worth it.

2. Use other members of the allium family 
For a mellower onion dip, try leeks; for a fresher, more bracing green flavor, try scallions. Or try more than one type of onion.

3. Add smoked fish 
Creamy, pungent flavors and smoked fish are meant to be. (Think cream cheese on an everything bagel with smoked salmon). Flake hot-smoked fish, like trout, mackerel, bluefish or salmon and gently fold it into your dip.

4. Serve with fancy chips 
Skip the Styrofoam-like supermarket chips that break in stiffer dips and break out the thick-cut, kettle cooked ones. Even better, seek out blue potato chips, which have a great flaky texture and look fantastic next to a white dip.

5. Internationalize it 
If the ideas above are still too boring for you, try imagining what onion dip would look like in another part of the world. For example, in the Middle East, it might be made with lebneh (like a thick, cheesy yogurt), scallions, cumin and coriander, while in India, cooks might use yogurt, garlic, fresh ginger, grated or ground turmeric and cilantro leaves.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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