Sauces & Rubs

By Lindsay Hunt | May 9, 2011

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Last week, when I read about cayenne’s ability to help lose weight, I immediately started sprinkling it on my food, from sauteed greens to salad dressing. Sometimes the spice improved the taste, but its addition was often regrettable.

Instead of trial and error, I wanted to make a sandwich spread or dip that would highlight the spicy flavor of cayenne, but wouldn’t be overpowered by it.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Enter liptauer, a spread from Austria and Hungary that pairs amazingly well with crisp radishes. I worked at an Austrian restaurant the summer after college, and small ramekins of liptauer and radishes would appear after a customer ordered, paired with a hearty German-style bread. The combination was foreign to my mostly-American palate. I figured that purveyors of foods like schniztel and spaetzle had to know something, and I soon discovered that liptauer was the incredible Austro-Hungarian answer to plain butter.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

It’s not just good with radishes and bread, though. This liptauer has starred in many snacks and meals since: whole-grain tortilla with liptauer, arugula, and tomatoes, spread on crackers as a snack, or on sandwiches.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Liptauer is usually made with paprika. For a traditional spread, replace the cayenne with sweet paprika. And, beware! This is a spicy spread. For sensitive palates, reduce the cayenne to 1 or 2 teaspoons.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Makes about 2 cups

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Radishes, for serving
  • Crackers or hearty bread, for serving

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat with an electric hand mixer or by hand until fluffy and creamy, about 3 minutes. Fold in the remaining ingredients.

Serve spread on crackers and topped with sliced radishes, or dip radishes into the Liptauer.

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