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Image for article titled Your Next Gathering Needs a Deconstructed Cheeseball

Photo: Claire Lower

I love a cheeseball. I love how it looks—kitschy, retro, round—and I love how it tastes—creamy, salty, a little tangy—but sometimes I do not love all the “work” that goes into making one. In fairness to the appetizer, it’s not that much work, but the “rolling into a ball” step can be a little tedious, and I am always trying to avoid tedium.

Enter this recipe for “Dynamite White,” a sort of deconstructed cheeseball from the folks at Duke’s Mayonnaise. Their recipe contains only three ingredients: Duke’s mayo (obviously), shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and spicy pickle relish. The recipe is fine, good even, but it’s also a template for making your own deconstructed cheeseball.

For example, I didn’t have any spicy relish, but I had a bread and butter zucchini relish, so I used that instead, and it worked quite well. I also added Worcestershire sauce and Crystal hot sauce, because they were in the fridge and I like them. The result was a tangy, slightly spicy, salty, and creamy cheese spread that was almost too much, but incredibly hard to stop eating.

It’s a fun way to use up random condiments, pickles, relishes, and chutneys, as well as any shreddable cheeses you have hanging out in the cheese drawer. You are welcome to follow the Duke’s format exactly, but I decreased from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup, for a slightly firmer, less mayo-y spread. If you want to use my deconstructed cheeseball template, you will need: 8 ounces sharp, shredded cheese; 1/4 cup mayo (preferably Duke’s); 1/4 cup relish, chopped pickles, or chutney.

Mix all that together, then get to futzing, and add any desired spices, condiments, and seasoning to taste. If you need suggestions, I have a few:

  • A few spoonfuls of cream cheese + everything bagel seasoning
  • Worcestershire sauce + prepared horseradish
  • Hot sauce + garlic powder + fried garlic bits
  • The liquid from a can of chili peppers in adobo
  • Ranch powder + (again) prepared horseradish
  • Literally anything + prepared horseradish
  • Bacon bits

You get the idea. Once everything is mixed in to taste, cover and let chill in the fridge for two hours. Serve with crackers and crudités.

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