Defiling a Classic
February 7, 2008
For the Super Bowl, Kevin requested spinach-artichoke dip. And, I was happy to oblige. Sort of. You see, I had the gall to replace two staple ingredients of the classic dip. In lieu of mayonnaise, I used creamy Fage Greek yogurt. If you’ve examined any of the recipes original to this site, you just might be on to the fact that Fage yogurt is my miracle ingredient. And, as if the yogurt-for-mayo trade weren’t sacrilegious enough, I replaced the spinach in my version of, um, spinach-artichoke dip, with Swiss chard.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
First, the chard. I’m semi-obsessed right now with large leafy greens that I spent most of my life avoiding like plague. So, when I saw the bundles of chard nestled right next to the bundles of spinach at the market, I couldn’t resist opting for the less standard option. Good thing. My least favorite part about the spinach in many artichoke dips is that it’s mainly just eye candy. A colorful accessory (albeit one with nutritional value), if you will. But because the chard is a heartier green, it refused to reduce down to the nearly-disintegrated texture that spinach takes on when added to artichoke dip. Instead, it add bulk and flavor. And I think it was a more assertive accessory too, providing an emerald marbling throughout the dip:
Next, the yogurt. This is where I had very little doubt. Not only has Fage become a staple of my breakfasts (currently studded with grapefruit segments and sprinkled with granola), but it’s single-handedly replaced sour cream and the very limited uses I had for mayonnaise. I’d love to tell you that I reach for it in place of ice cream whenever the a la mode mood strikes, but, let’s get serious. Nothing can replace ice cream. But in artichoke dip, which is usually bound by sour cream and/or mayonnaise, I had full confidence that the yogurt would be a suitable substitute. And it was, imparting a luscious texture and a tangy background flavor.
My final twist on the classic dip was to cut the baking time a bit short and instead finish off the dip under the broiler, with a fresh grating of parmesan, to ensure a bubbly, molten crust. We happily pierced through the crust and down into the dip with crostini, pita chips and crudite (my favorite, especially the cucumber rounds). Kevin liked it so much that he didn’t even get too upset when he came out on the losing end of our several bets on the game. Let’s just say, I came out of the Super Bowl one new recipe and five bucks richer!
Swiss Chard-Artichoke Dip
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of Swiss Chard, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and finely chopped
1/2 cup plain Green yogurt (I like Fage 0%)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
salt, to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan, divided
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a gratin dish or oven safe bowl.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic; saute for 30 seconds. Add the chopped chard; cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the chard has softened. Meanwhile, combine the artichokes, yogurt, Dijon, paprika, cayenne and salt in a large bowl. When the chard has softened, add it to the artichoke mixture, along with 1/4 cup parmesan. Stir to combine the ingredients.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared gratin dish or oven safe bowl, smoothing the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the dip from the oven and turn on the broiler. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan on top of the dish. Slide the dish under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Serve with toasted baguette slices, pita or tortilla chips or crudite.