Goat Cheese Spread with Dried Apricots and Pistachios

A microplane grater is the only type of grater that will get the lemon zest fine enough for this creamy, salty, tangy, sweet spread.

Makes about 2 cups.

¼ cup dried apricots, finely diced
¼ cup boiling water
1 log goat cheese (10 to 12 ounces), at room temperature
⅓ cup pistachio nuts, toasted and finely chopped
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, to your taste
Honey for drizzling (optional)

1. Place the apricots and boiling water in small heatproof bowl and set aside until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2. Add the goat cheese and mash well. Add the nuts, buttermilk, mint, and lemon zest and mash again.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, drizzled with honey, if desired, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

Variation: Substitute dried dates or figs for the apricots and pecans or walnuts for the pistachios.

Serve with triangles of pumpernickel bread, crackers, fresh figs or strawberries.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)