When I was a little girl, I fell in love with a dish that my grandparents would make for my brother and me for lunch. It was a simple thing – light rye bread, tomato slices, finely chopped onion and a cottage cheese herb spread that they made from scratch.
The cottage cheese that they used wasn’t the runny kind but rather the hard-pressed cottage cheese you can occasionally find in the grocery store’s dairy section. You can also find it in most Eastern European deli shops. In Ontario, the MC Dairy or Western brands do a good job in producing these square-shaped blocks of pressed cottage cheese.
On its own, this cottage cheese is bland, but when you add a few key ingredients, it ends up being a delicious, flavourful spread.
Here’s the recipe – the same way my grandparents (Babcia – ‘bab-cha’ aka grandma, and Dziadzio – ‘jaa-jo’ with the j as is jar – aka grandfather) used to make it:
Babcia & Dziadzio’s Cottage Cheese Herb Spread
1 cup hard pressed cottage cheese (approximately 1/3 of the cube)
3 tbs low-fat sour cream
2 tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tbs fresh dill, finely chopped (optional, dried can be used as an alternate)
1 tbs onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Hungarian red paprika powder
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
In a small bowl, crumble cottage cheese with a fork until broken down into crumbs. Add sour cream and mix well until mixture is creamy. Add chives, onion, dill (optional), paprika and salt and blend in well with cheese until uniform throughout.
Use as a spread for bread or to accompany boiled potatoes for a light lunch.
Makes 4 to 6 servings. Can be stored in the refrigerator for two days.
This cheese spread can also make for a great addition to home-made hors d’oeuvres. Just add a smidgen more sour cream to make it creamier and use it to top crackers, with freshly sliced cucumbers or halved grape tomatoes.
Do you have a favourite cheese spread recipe? If you try this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts.