We are currently having an intense love affair with flatbreads so I’ve been making dips, spreads and condiments that go well with them. This is one of the best I’ve come up with.
Is this an appetizer or a snack? Both of them. It can even be served with cocktail drinks.
Is it a dip or a spread? It’s somewhere in-between, truth be told. At room temperature, the cream cheese is soft enough to be scooped with bread. And it softens some more, to the point of being mushy, in fact, after the hot sauce is poured over it. Touch it with a piece of bread and the cheese easily sticks to the bread. But you’ll need a utensil to pick up the tomatoes and transport them to your cheese-smeared bread. A teaspoon is useful.
Just how complicated is the cooking process? Just because the dish has three components doesn’t mean it’s a complicated project. It’s not, really.
First, you toss cherry tomatoes in a little olive oil just to moisten the surface. Season with lemon pepper seasoning and roast along with four or five cloves of garlic.
Then, you peel the garlic and smash into a paste.
Whip the cream cheese to aerate it, add the garlic paste and chopped fresh dill and fold in.
Now, make the sauce by heating butter, honey, chili flakes and lemon juice. Throw the roasted tomatoes into the sauce and leave they have soaked up the sauce and look plumper than after they had come out of the oven toaster or air fryer.
Spread the cream cheese in a shallow bowl, scoop out the tomatoes and scatter on top, then drizzle in the sauce. You’ll need a vessel to bring all those lovely flavors to your mouth. Vegetable sticks will work but we prefer flatbread.
Cream cheese and roasted tomatoes dip / spread
- 300 grams cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- ½ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 4 to 5 cloves roasted garlic peeled and mashed
- 1 250-gram block cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons roughly chopped dill divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 pinch chili flakes
- 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Roast the tomatoes and garlic
- Rinse the tomatoes and dry with a kitchen towel.
- Place the tomatoes in a bowl, pierce each one with a thin knife, drizzle in a little olive oil and toss well.
- Sprinkle in the lemon pepper seasoning and toss to coat each tomato.
- Spread the tomatoes on a baking tray and add the garlic cloves.
- Roast the tomatoes and garlic at 350F for 20 minutes (see notes).
Prep the cream cheese
- Peel the roasted garlic and mash into a paste.
- Whisk the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth. Fold in half of the dill and all of the garlic.
- Scrape the cream cheese into a shallow bowl.
Make the sauce
- Melt the butter in a pan and sprinkle in the chili flakes.
- When the butter turns a shade of light brown, stir in the honey and lemon juice.
- Spread the roasted cherry tomatoes in the simmering sauce, toss a few times and wait just until the tomatoes plump up and the skins lose their wrinkly appearance.
- Scoop out the tomatoes and drop gently on top of the cream cheese.
- Drizzle the sauce over the tomatoes and cheese.
- Sprinkle in the remaining dill.