Green Goddess Benedictine
Anyone who’s ever been to the Kentucky Derby knows that it’s just plain fun and a truly magical time in Louisville. Gorgeous hats, funky suits, and parties rule the weekend! One of the most famous dishes for Derby is Benedictine, a green cream cheese spread with cucumbers and onion. It’s a true classic that I wanted to put a unique spin on, so I created a version that brings in fresh herbs and avocado for a natural color. It’s absolutely scrumptious! Best of all, you not only can but should prepare it a day in advance to allow the flavors to develop, which gives you extra time to enjoy your party on the big day.
Feel free to serve your Benedictine on finger sandwiches with thin slices of cucumber or place it in the center of a crudité platter as a creamy dip! This would go very well on a table with some of Top Chef Sara Bradley’s Bacon Jam. Enjoy!
The Seasoned Cynic’s Green Goddess Benedictine
Yields roughly 1 quart
2 (8 oz.) packs cream cheese, softened
1 ripe avocado
1/4 tsp. black pepper (a few cracks)
1/2 tsp. salt, plus a sprinkle
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest (1/2 lemon)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp. shallots, minced (optional)
2 cups English cucumber, chopped
Add a sprinkle of salt to your chopped cucumbers and lay them in a large bowl on top of a thin layer of paper towels. Fold the edges in to cover the cucumbers and place something heavy directly on top. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, then squeeze as much liquid from the cucumbers as you can. Remove them from the paper towels and place them in a dry bowl. This process allows you to end up with a thick Benedictine that isn’t watery!
Use a mixer to combine the first 8 ingredients (through sour cream). Beat vigorously until smooth and creamy, then lower the speed and blend in the chives, tarragon, mint, shallots (if using), and cucumbers. Season to taste. Cover and chill for 24 hours.
Serve on slices of bread, garnished with mint and thin slices of cucumber to make beautiful finger sandwiches. You can also serve this spread as a crudité dip. Enjoy!
Note: It’s ok to experiment a little and add or omit ingredients. For instance, you could throw in some fresh dill, basil, chopped spinach, or parsley. Also, if you want to add the shallots but do not want them to be raw, simply sauté and allow them to cool before mixing them into your spread!