Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip


The summer before my senior year in high school, I worked as a file clerk in the accounting department at my dad's company. The job was terribly boring, but the experience provided me with a really nice recipe for spinach and artichoke dip. Our payroll clerk brought a big bowl of this spinach and artichoke dip to every office party and it's delicious. This particular recipe is different than most because it doesn't have any mayonnaise or sour cream in it. Instead of being slightly tangy, the flavor is soft and mild. The dip is cheesy and creamy and very good.

The recipe is simple. You stir together cooked spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese and heat it gently until everything melts together. The cream cheese makes the dip soft and smooth, and the Parmesan gives it a nice sharp, salty flavor. Tortilla chips, wheat crackers, or thin baguette slices all make nice accompaniments. 

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Adapted from a recipe shared by Robin Roitz. Makes about 2 cups.
    • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed (fresh spinach is good here, but frozen works just as well)
    • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water (again, fresh artichokes are a fine choice, but canned artichoke hearts are tasty and  easy)
    • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
    • 1 cup (3-4 ounces) grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Begin by steaming the spinach over low heat in a covered saucepan with a little bit of water until the spinach is soft, about 5 minutes. Drain the water from the pan and press a spoon against the spinach to squeeze out any additional water. Give the artichoke hearts a rough chop and add them to the saucepan with the spinach. Mix in the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir over low heat until all of the cheese is melted and fully incorporated. You can stop there and get right to the eating, or you can spoon the dip into a crock or a small, shallow casserole dish and bake it in a hot oven until it's bubbling. The dip is best served warm, but you can also serve it at room temperature if you thin it with a little bit of milk or water. A clove or two of minced garlic is a nice addition if you want a little kick.

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