Dips are a wonderful way to share, and interact with food when
we eat together, whatever the occasion. This creamy dip is a versatile and
adaptable crowd pleaser, whether you’re entertaining guests at a dinner party or
just after some casual grazing food.
There are countless versions of this recipe, each one with
its own personal take on how to prepare the dish and what to serve it with. Corn
chips or flat breads are common choices, whilst pumpernickel, sourdough and Hawaiian
sweet breads are popular too.
This is my version of spinach, parmesan and artichoke dip,
which I developed whilst working at a soul food kitchen. It was showcased on
the menu as a standalone starter, as well as featuring on the apps platter, and
was a popular choice with diners.
Whilst researching the recipe I found that many traditional recipes
(especially in the United States) prominently feature the use of mayonnaise and/or
sour cream, and required grilling to achieve a golden crispy topping.
I have gone for a lighter, fresher, and smoother approach to
this dip, celebrating the integrity of the three main ingredients – the spinach,
the artichoke and the parmesan cheese, against the backdrop of a silky smooth
dip. This dip should be served warm or at room temperature (not piping hot or
it will lack flavour).
1 pint/568ml Whole milk
Aromatics – 1 shallot peeled and halved, 1 celery stick, 5 –
6 parsley stalks, 1 clove, 1 bay leaf
Clove of garlic – finely chopped
125g Baby leaf spinach
400g Can or jar of artichoke hearts, drained and roughly
100g Parmesan cheese – grated
50g Cheddar cheese – grated
Salt, white pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1) Put the milk in a sauce pan with the aromatics; bring to
the boil and take of the heat. Set the milk aside to let it infuse.
2) Melt the butter with the garlic in another saucepan on a
medium to low heat, then add the flour to form a thick paste (the roux), and
cook gently for a further 4 – 5 minutes.
4) Add the parmesan and Cheddar and stir until it is melted
in (add nutmeg if using), followed by the artichokes and cook gently for 2 – 3
minutes, then finally add the spinach so it wilts.
5) Remove from the heat and carefully add the mixture to a
food processor and blitz to a smooth dip (or to your desired consistency). The dip
can be refrigerated for 2 – 3 days, and be bought up to room temperature or gently
reheated in a microwave when needed.
6) Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Portion in bowls topped with a little grated parmesan and a drizzle of good
quality extra virgin olive oil, serve and with lightly fried warm corn tortilla
chips with a dusting of smoked paprika.