The easiest, cheesiest skillet dip for when you need a killer app, stat

Make this melted cheese dip now!

Published March 17, 2019 9:00PM (EDT)

 (Ty Mecham / Food52)
(Ty Mecham / Food52)

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This cheesy skillet dip is not so much a recipe as it is a description of the last-ditch attempt I regularly make to be a good dinner party host. A lifeboat made of melted cheese, if you will.

Perhaps this sequence of events sounds familiar: you invite a handful of guests to a dinner party. You plan an intricate menu, hit the grocery store with time to spare, and get your entrée marinating (or braising, or pickling...) without a hitch. Then, mere moments before your friends arrive — glass of relaxed-host-of-the-century wine in hand — it hits. The realization that you forgot to plan snacks of any sort. No beautifully arranged cheese board, no adorable finger foods puffing up in the oven.

This extra-cheesy skillet dip is my answer. It draws inspiration from baked cheeses everywhere (hi, honey-covered baked brie, queso fundido, and roasted feta) and it's endlessly customizable. The version I've written up begins with onion and enoki mushrooms, sautéed in a little butter, but you could swap in any alliums, mushrooms, or quick cooking vegetables (like peppers or tomato — just use a non-reactive skillet with the latter). Experiment with any melty cheese to find your favorite version; I also love incorporating Gruyere, Comté, and Taleggio. Finally, top with whatever you please. If sour cream and hot honey aren't up your alley, try tomato jam and herbs. Or hot sauce. Or spicy breadcrumbs. (Or, nothing at all!)

Thanks to the scientifically proven fact that hot cheese is delicious, your guests will love it no matter what:

Easiest, Cheesiest Skillet Dip
Serves: 8 or more as an appetizer

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a little more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups enoki mushrooms (if still attached at bottom when you get them, cut that part off so you have lots of little stems)
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (white or orange is fine)
1 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella
2 tablespoons sour cream, thinned a little with lime juice or water, for drizzling
2 tablespoons spicy honey (I like Mike’s Hot Honey)
2 tablespoons very finely chopped chives, plus more if desired
Hearty crackers, tortilla chips, or hunks of crusty bread for serving

By Ella Quittner

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