Spinach, Artichoke & Parmesan Dip
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 chopped
100g Parmesan cheese – grated
50g Cheddar cheese – grated
Salt, white pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste
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.
3) Discard the aromatics from the milk, and gradually add the milk to the roux, using a whisk to avoid lumps forming and cook out the flour to a béchamel consistency.
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.