My usual Super Bowl strategy is to gather some friends at game time, do an end-run around the sporty crowds and head straight to that one trendy, no-reservation restaurant that’s impossible to get into any other day of the year.
The years when I do attend a Super Bowl party, I plant myself in front of the dip. As a non-sports type, the dip bowl is the bowl for me, at least until the halftime show.
A truly great dip can create a high-stakes spectacle, one that separates the seasoned players from the rookies. There are the furtive double-dippers, the overloading chip-breakers, the celery-nibbling dip snubbers and by the fourth quarter you’re bound to see someone fumble dip onto the table, the rug or their shirts.
But veteran chip champs will have devoured the best dips by halftime, which is a great time to take a breather from the noshing anyway and enjoy whatever Usher will perform this year.
So what’s the best dip for a Super Bowl party?
My ideal dip would be something thick and creamy enough to cling to your chip but not so gluey it sticks to your teeth (or the rug). Hot and oozing is nice, especially in February, and I’m partial to bubbling, melty dips with sweeping cheese pulls.
Cream cheese makes an excellent foundation because it melts well and is mild, so it can take on the character of whatever brawnier flavors you add.
For this dip, I chose the classic, crowd-pleasing pairing of bacon and Cheddar, zipped up with dashes of hot sauce. I also added scallions two ways. The white parts are sautéed in the leftover bacon fat, making them soft and sweet. Then, the greens are sprinkled on top for their crisp bite and bright hue. Teamwork!
Finally, to add juiciness, a burst of chile heat and even more color, I strew the top of the dip with diced cherry tomatoes marinated in hot sauce and salt. I like the way the fresh tomatoes hold their own next to the soft dip, adding texture. But, for an easier, spicier option, you can top the dip with your favorite prepared salsa. It’s a simple recipe to tackle and a hard one to beat.
And if you’re going out to dinner on Super Bowl Sunday, just put this recipe on reserve for a future shindig, when it’ll be the only bowl anyone’s watching.