Saturday, June 30, 2012

Three-Cheese Spinach Dip

The very first entry I made in this blog was from Chef Suvir Saran's book, American Masala for Double Basil Spicy Mussels. This book is fabulous! I bought it when I saw it on sale at Williams Sonoma, without a clue of who Saran was. Turns out that he is the chef of Manhattan acclaimed restaurant Devi. I have used this book so much (all the cooking stains on the book are justice) and his recipes have proved yummier each round. 

This is what I took to a potluck last night with my fabulous girlfriends. Soul food, last night was definitely not about skinny-girl time (although we did talk about the Skinny Girl Diet a lot!). Mumtaz made her SPECTACULAR biryani, Amita brought yummy and spicy potatoes. To work with the fiery Pakistani and Indian flavors on the table, this Three-Cheese Spinach Dip was a great way to start the evening, as it had a great kick to it with Habañero and lots of black pepper. 

Saran says that this spinach dip may be the richest, creamiest, and most satisfying that you have ever made. It's redolent with heady cheeses like Parmigianno-Reggiano and Gouda and emerges from the oven with a golden Fontina crust. If you plan on serving the dip in a bread bowl, brush the edges of the hollowed-out bread with olive oil or melted butter prior to placing it under the broiler– and keep an eye on the bread to make sure it doesn't burn while the cheese browns (you can cover the edge with a ring of aluminum foil to protect it).

This is definitely a recipe I am going to repeat for a party. Most of it can be made ahead and that's always a plus point! 

Adapted from American Masala, Suvir Saran
Serves 8–10
For the dip
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon Habañero powder (or red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces aged Gouda cheese, grated
4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping
8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground peppercorns

Tortilla chips or a bread bowl, for serving

  1. To make the dip, wrap the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring until the spinach is free of liquid.
  2. Melt the butter with ground peppercorns, Habañero, and thyme in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cooking until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, reduce heat to medium, and store for 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the heavy cream and cook until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  5. Stir in the Gouda and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, spinach, nutmeg, and salt and continue cooking for 2 minutes. 
  6. Transfer the spinach to a shallow 1 1/2-quart oven-safe casserole or gratin dish. (At this point the dip can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
  7. Set an oven rack 6-inches from heating element and preheat the broiler. 
  8. Make the topping: Combine all topping ingredients and sprinkle over the spinach dip.
  9. Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes (watch carefully as broilers vary).
Cooks Tip: Add canned artichokes hearts to the left over dip, and serve Three-Cheese Artichoke and Spinach Dip. 

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