Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Spinach-Artichoke Dip is one of my top 3 in the dip category and this one is my very favorite version. There’s a restaurant in my hometown that serves the best spinach-artichoke dip; it’s super creamy, spicy and has jalapenos running throughout. I’ve been chasing that one every time I make this dip, and I think I’ve finally perfected it! Adjust the pepper elements to your liking.
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
15 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped or two 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, drained
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and cut into chunks
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
One 8-ounce block mozzarella, coarsely shredded (about 2-1/2 cups)
3 ounces Parmesan, finely shredded (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 jalapenos, very thinly sliced (reserve 10 to 15 slices for the top)
1 can artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
A few dashes of hot sauce, to your taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the crostini: Spread the baguette slices on a large baking sheet; drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375° for 5 to 7 minutes, until very lightly golden brown.
For the spinach: in a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, until softened. Add the chopped spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly wilted. Remove from the heat and place in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl to drain. Press with spinach with the back of a spoon to remove as much water as possible (a little left in the spinach is good because it will help thin the dip slightly).
In the same skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk vigorously to ensure there are no lumps; cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk/cream while vigorously whisking; continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the cream cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the cheeses for the top and add the remaining cheese to the mixture, whisking until melted and smooth; it will be very thick. Remove from the heat. Add the mayonnaise and crème fraiche and stir to combine. Cut the jalapeno slices in half and add the jalapenos, artichoke hearts, spinach, lemon juice, hot sauce and cayenne, to taste, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and place the jalapeno slices over the top. Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper over the top, if desired and serve with crostini or tortilla chips.