Liptauer Cheese Spread Recipe from Cafe Katja Austrian Restaurant on the Lower East Side, New York City
There are many reasons why Café Katja has become one of our weekly haunts. This 25-seat Austrian restaurant excels at soul-soothing spätzle, house-made sausages and Austro-German libations. But what keeps us coming back for meal after meal is the perfect Austrian prelude: a piping hot homemade pretzel served with a crock of creamy liptauer.
This moussey, spicy spread--a blend of butter, farmer's cheese, paprika and herbs--goes well with just about everything it touches. At Katja, liptauer is served with the aforementioned pretzel, various meat and pickle platters and on a delicious sandwich made with radishes and fresh herbs.
Though similar versions appear in Hungarian, Italian and Slovakian cuisines (and American, if you count pimento cheese), Katja's Austrian adaptation is the best we've ever had. At home, it's become our favorite new dip for raw vegetables and anything in the chip family, and it's turned our morning bagel into a reason to get out of bed.
Adapted from Café Katja
Makes 8 servings
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
16 ounces full-fat quark, such as Appel Farms brand (available at Whole Foods), or farmer's cheese
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
½ teaspoon hot paprika
¼ cup finely chopped cornichons (or sour pickles)
2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated white onion
½ clove of garlic, smashed to a paste
¼ cup finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
With an electric mixer or wooden spoon, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Fold in the remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use.
Café Katja, 79 Orchard St. (between Broome and Grand sts.); 212-219-9545 or cafe-katja.com
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