Hot Artichoke & Spinach Dip
One of the most favorite appetizers at any fast casual restaurant is the artichoke dip. Some serve it with tortilla chips, pita bread, or even Italian toast. Whatever your preference, it is delicious. You can even find it in the fast food section of some supermarkets. If you want to really want to elevate this, get a medium size panelle bread (like a round sourdough). Simply cut a hole in the top, scoop out the bread, cut it into cubes, and place it around the bread, and fill the hollowed out loaf with the dip once cooked.
Like me, you might be tempted to use fresh artichokes and spinach, but it will not turn out very well, and extra time is needed for cooking. This is an appetizer, and it should be quickly prepared. The freshness of the artichokes and spinach is only going to be lost with all that garlic, cheese, and the better part of an hour in the oven. Part of the canning/freezing process means that the artichokes and spinach will be wilted and/or cooked. Plus, they are going to cook at least another half hour in the oven. Either way, once you defrost or thaw the spinach, squeeze the water out. With the artichokes, rinse well, and squeeze out the liquid they are canned in.
INGREDIENTS: (This makes a ton, enough for appetizers for at least half a dozen people, if its just for a party of two, make half as much).
- 4 ounces mayonnaise
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup or one 8oz can artichoke hearts
- 1 cup or one 8oz package frozen spinach
- 8 ounce package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (you can use any brand, but this is my preference)
- 1-2 cloves fresh grated garlic
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. While most recipes call for 25 minutes in the oven, I used a deeper dish and it took more like 45 minutes to make it hot. So you just have to choose the appropriate dish or cookware. Like anything with cooking or baking, use your judgement. Pull it out of the oven, give it a taste with a clean spoon, and determine from there if it needs to be hotter, if its too hot, pull it out, let it settle, etc.
Allow spinach to fully defrost, rinse artichoke hearts thoroughly. You might find them so salty that there is no need to add salt. Chop the artichokes up, add to a bowl of the spinach, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and parmesan. Add plenty of pepper, a pinch of salt, and some shaved garlic run through a fine cheese grater or microplane. Mix very well, put into a glass casserole dish, and put in the oven. Give it a stir and/or taste after 25 minutes or so. Again, there is going to be plenty, so serve it in smaller dishes or one big one, or in a hollowed out sour dough bread loaf.