Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip
I love spinach and artichoke dip, especially served warm right out of the oven, but a good one is hard to come by. The problem is that most recipes call for canned or marinated artichokes — which are tinny and sour tasting — as well as sour cream (yet more tang) and an ungodly amount of mayonnaise (hard to enjoy eating, especially if you’re the one who made it). My version is updated with a French twist. Instead of sour cream and mayonnaise, I use a Mornay sauce to thicken the dip. This is simply a Béchamel, or white sauce, with the addition of grated cheese. I also use frozen artichokes, which are the closest thing to fresh. It bakes up creamy, cheesy and wonderfully rich, with chunks of artichoke hearts and bright green spinach within.
Begin by melting the butter in a medium saucepan to make the Mornay sauce.
Next, add the flour and continue cooking over medium-low heat.
Stirring all the while.
When the mixture turns a golden-sandy color, whisk in the milk.
Bring the sauce up to a boil, then simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon.
Off the heat, stir in the cheese until melted.
As you can see, it will be quite thick. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
Next, cook the onions in a large pan until soft and translucent, then add the chopped artichokes, spinach (be sure it’s squeezed dry) and garlic.
Cook for 5 minutes, then transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the cheese sauce and fold together.
Transfer the dip to a pretty baking dish and top with more Parmesan cheese.
Bake until hot throughout and serve with a sliced baguette.
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- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- Cayenne pepper
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- ½ cup grated Monterey Jack
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed very dry
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 9-ounce boxes frozen artichoke hearts (not thawed), chopped coarse
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Set an oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt ¼ cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir constantly for about 5 minutes until mixture is a golden, sandy color. Whisk in the milk and bring the liquid up to a boil. Simmer, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, or until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It will be quite thick. Set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic, chopped artichokes, thyme, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. Transfer vegetables to large mixing bowl. Add the cheese sauce to the vegetables and fold together until well combined. Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe serving dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until hot throughout and very lightly golden on top. Serve with sliced baguette.