Three perfect early summer dips

Provence is often called a cold country with a hot sun because as soon as the sun’s down you will feel too cold to stay outside for very long. At last the days are now long and warm enough to really start entertaining outside during the evenings. Rosé is the perfect partner to alfresco lunching and dining and summer dips are as important in Provence as they are back home. They are such a great way to start a meal with a good crowd, informal, versatile and everyone gets stuck in at the pace they want. Dips here are usually vegetable based, I have therefore picked up some real classic flavours with some subtle adaptations that everyone will love.

Olive and Almond Tapenade

  • 1 glass/pot of de-stoned black olives
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Tapenade is the lifeblood of easy entertaining in Provence, this one is nice and easy on the palate as I leave out the usual anchovies and capers so that the almond flavour doesn’t get drowned out. Put all the ingredients in a mixer and purée until smooth.

Goats cheese and Basil dip

  • 1 soft goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • a packet of basil
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon
  • a handful of pine kernels

Again so easy- just add everything into a blender, season with salt to taste and blend into a smooth cream. Add a little lemon to preserve the green of the basil and you’re ready to go.

“Caviar” d’Aubergine

  • 2 Aubergines
  • olive oil
  • 2 clove of garlic
  • sea salt

Roast the Aubgerines and the garlic in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 Celsius, then turn it down to 140 degrees. When the Aubergines are nice and soft take them out and cut them in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh into a plastic bowl and mash in the roasted garlic. Mix well and season with olive oil and salt et c’est tout!

Fill each of the dips into a nice bowl and serve with roasted ciabatta slices, breadsticks and some cut up raw vegetables such as carrots, pepper and cucumber.

Bon appétit from the Mirabeau kitchen

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