Summer. I normally dread summer and the heat it brings but, surprisingly, it’s still cool and the forecast is that it will be a rainy Lenten season. Still, the days have grown longer signaling that summer has indeed arrived. And it’s the perfect time to start creating light snacks like this cream and cucumber dip. So refreshing.
The keys to making a delicious cream cheese and cucumber dip are 1) squeeze out the water from and the shredded cucumber and 2) add lime or lemon juice to the mixture to create a complex balance of salty, sweet and tangy. Cayenne is optional but it does wonders. And, if you’re using fresh lime or lemon juice anyway, why not grate some zest and add it to the dip too? Zest will make the dip even more tantalizingly aromatic.
Why squeeze out the water from the cucumber? Two reasons. One, water dilutes flavor. Second, to prevent the dip from turning too thin.
Cream Cheese and Cucumber Dip
- 200 grams cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Japanese mayo)
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated garlic
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne (optional)
- 1 to 2 pinches lime or lemon zest (optional)
Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy.
Grate the cucumber (peeling before grating is optional).
Squeeze out the water from the cucumber. You can do this with your hand or, for better results, wrap the grated cucumber in a piece of cheesecloth and wring out as much water as you can.
Add the cucumber, mayonnaise, garlic, 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice, 2 tablespoons milk, pepper and zest (if using) to the cream cheese and mix thoroughly.
Taste the dip. If it needs more tang, stir in the rest of the lime or lemon juice. If the dip is too thick, mix in the rest of the milk.
Scrape the cream cheese and cucumber dip into a bowl, optionally sprinkle with cayenne and serve with crackers.