Kentucky Derby Recipes: Benedictine Spread
It isn’t Derby time right now, but Benedictine is certainly a Kentucky tradition and Derby favorite. This traditional Cucumber and Cream Cheese spread has been around Kentucky since the 1890s. The key to making it great is to squeeze as much water as possible out of the Cucumbers. A watery spread is no good.
Benedictine is the perfect Summer recipe, too, because fresh Cucumbers from the garden are in abundance. I’ve made this Benedictine spread as an appetizer for almost every dinner party I’ve hosted the past two months, and I’ll be making it again for my Labor Day cookout with the last Cucumbers from my Summer garden. Also, serve this spread in place of mayonnaise on a BLT for a killer family favorite.
Yield: About 2 Cups
2 Medium Cucumbers (about 5-6″ long), 1/2 skin removed, shredded and drained*
8 oz. Cream Cheese
Freshly Ground Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Green Food Coloring (optional)
*To drain Cucumber, shred Cucumber onto a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze excess water from Cucumber by wrapping Cucumber tightly in the center of the towel and wringing the kitchen towel over the kitchen sink until all water is squeezed out. Note, you can also deseed the Cucumber if desired, just cut it in half long ways and scoop seeds out with a spoon.
1. Prepare Cucumber as detailed above. Use a cheese grater or food processor to shred the Cucumber.
2. In a small bowl combine dried Cucumber and Cream Cheese.
3. Season Cucumber mixture to taste with Salt and Pepper. Some recipes call for diced Onion, but I stick to lots of Black Pepper for a little spice. Add Green Food Coloring drop by drop, stirring each time, until you create a light green color (this is traditional for Benedictine, but won’t affect the taste).
4. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve cold or room temperature. Benedictine can be made in advance and will last for a few days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!