Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nouveau Spinach and Artichoke Dip

A Merry Christmas Hors d'oeuvre for a Merry Christmas Eve

Uh-oh.  Is tomorrow Christmas Eve?  It comes fast, doesn't it?  Well, if you are in need of a quick appetizer or hors d'ouevre.  Here is some inspiration and what I am bringing to our family's Christmas celebration.
Based on classic artichoke dip, I added fresh spinach chiffonade, and replaced the traditional jarred mayo with slow cooked onions-turned into an onion-y roux, a bit of plain organic yogurt, and a bit of flax/olive oil veganaise.  Not too shabby. The yogurt and Veganaise cuts the fat a bit since it's already so rich and the yogurt adds a good tang.  You could just go with regular or light mayo if you don't have the other stuff on hand.  Garnish with some festive spicy roasted mini peppers, sliced green olives with pimientos or some bright red paprika.  Whatever you have on hand!  Merry Christmas! 

my mise
Nouveau Spinach and Artichoke Dip

3 T butter+2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 t sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 t minced garlic

2 T unbleached white flour
1/4 cup milk, soymilk, or almond milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
8 cups or so spinach leaves, cut into chiffonade/thin strips
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup Veganaise or other mayonnaise you wish to use (My favorite is the Flax/Olive Oil Light Veganaise)
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese+1/4 cup for the top
Garnish (red pepper strips, paprika, olives?)

Cocktail pumpernickel ryes, Beer Bread, and/or endive for serving.

Melt butter and olive oil in a medium or large pot with a lid.  Add onion and cook on medium-high until just beginning to brown.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic.  Stir and lower heat.  Cook onion on low, uncovered for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  When onion is very soft and fragrant and beginning to caramelize, add unbleached white flour and stir to make a roux.  Add milk and yogurt to create a sort of bechamel sauce. Stir over low heat a few minutes until smooth.  Add spinach and gently fold in until leaves wilt down and remove from heat.  Add artichoke hearts, Veganaise, and 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano.

Fold it all together and spread in a small/medium 'oven-to-table'-style baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining  parmesan cheese on top and arrange your garnish if you want it to get baked too.  I did mine with miniature hot peppers and thought it would be great baked with the spicy flavors permeating part of the dip-yum!  You can cover and store overnight at this point or bake and serve.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 30-50 minutes, depending on depth of your baking dish and if it was refrigerated before going into the oven.  When it's hot, bubbly, and browned at the edges, it's ready to serve.

Warm bread slightly before serving and arrange on a serving plate with endive. 

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