Artichoke dip is one of those mysterious dishes that has managed to elude me. It appeared at various brunches, dinners, and parties through the years and I always provided my fair share of the effort to consume it. But somehow, I remained content to simply envy from afar, never attempting to master it myself.
One day, tasked with providing a dessert and appetizer for a gathering, I determined to explore the uncharted waters. (I would not normally recommend trying new dishes two hours before one is supposed to appear somewhere with aforementioned food. I was young and foolish.)
Important Note: I am at war with mayonnaise. It’s terrifying to me. The slippery texture, the elusive whitish-yellowish shade….I can’t take it. For those of you who love your mayo, carry on.
It’s just a personal thing.I probably had a bad experience as a child.
Whenever I want to try a new recipe, I search on Google to scope out the territory. Assessing the enemy, in a sense. But almost all of the recipes involved mayo.
Knowing that the best scholar has good sources, I turned to The Pioneer Woman. Voila! A recipe that avoided mayo. I loosely followed her recipe, replacing the cream cheese with sour cream (producing, I an only assume, a slightly lighter dip). It was surprisingly painless and fun to make.
The result? An artichoke dip that was all I could have wished for. There were no leftovers and it was so well-received that I made it again the following night for another gathering, with the same result.
1 jar of artichoke hearts
6 tbl. butter
1 tbl. garlic
8 oz. bag of frozen spinach
3 tbl. flour
3/4 cup of two of the following: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Feta, or Pepper Jack plus some extra cheese.
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Saute the frozen spinach in the garlic and butter on a low-simmer until the butter is melted and the spinach is thawed and wilted. Scoop the spinach out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts in a colander. Chop into quarter-size pieces and saute in the same pan until they begin to brown and are thoroughly coated in butter. Set aside.
Add 3 tbl. butter and 3 tbl. flour to the pan and mix gently on low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth, forming a roux.
Combine flour-butter mixture in a larger pan with 1 1/2 cup milk. Simmer until the mixture thickens. Add 3/4 cup Mozzarella (or some other cheese of your choice) and 3/4 cup Parmesan (or some other cheese of your choice). Stir the mixture gently as it continues to simmer until the cheese is completely melted and the mixture is blended. Add 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper.
Add artichokes and spinach to mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the entire mixture into a pretty baking pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper and a generous amount of cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble and the cheese on top starts to brown.
Serve with those lightly salted pita chips. Yum.