Sep 7, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Artichoke and Spinach Dip

There are as many recipes and variations on this dip as there are mid-price eateries that serve it as an appetizer. That said, everybody's got a slightly different version and this is my personal favorite. It started out as artichoke dip and then spinach got introduced a while back. I don't care for frozen spinach but you can substitute it - just be sure to thaw and squeeze the moisture out first. 

I've continued to modify and tweak this over the years, and it's a far cry from its humble 3-ingredient beginnings: 1 jar artichoke hearts, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup Parmesan cheese. (Don't worry - the first time I made it, I was taken aback by what looked like too much mayonnaise, too.) But I bravely plunged ahead and was rewarded by an appetizer that met with my family's admiration and approval. Well, most of my family. There's always one of our offspring that is likely to turn his or her cute little nose up at a new dish, because they don't care for one (or more...or ANY) of the ingredients. That's okay - it just leaves more for the rest of us. 

Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip 

2 handfuls of fresh spinach, stemmed, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
1 jar (14-15 ounces) marinated artichokes (Trader Joe's are my favorite), drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (you can use the stuff in a jar, or up the ante with fresh-grated from the deli)
1/2 cup grated mozarella or provolone cheese (optional)
1 teaspoon diced/minced garlic (1 clove, minced or smashed)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except final 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Mix well and place in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish (I have a 10-inch white ceramic quiche dish that is just the right size.) It does not need to be greased - the mayonnaise will prevent any sticking. Sprinkle with Parmesan and place in hot oven for 25-30 minutes or until the dish slightly puffs and gets golden brown on top. Serve with plain pita chips or bagel toasted rounds.

Makes 8-10 appetizer-size servings.

Note: If you have a sizable amount left over, refrigerate promptly. Scoop it into smaller dish and reheat for 15 minutes or until bubbly hot. Take it to work for your co-workers, and they'll never know it's leftovers - they'll just wish you had brought more! 
Happy eating!