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Sunday

Three Cheese Artichoke Dip

I absolutely adore food and am definitely a self-confessed foodie, but for some reason the foodies in New York are completed obsessed with certain vegetables which in England we just don't really use at all. Eggplant and Artichokes can be found in any grocery store over the pond but here, they are only really available from green grocers or farmers markets. 

I was lucky enough to feast on Eggplant Parmigiana and Artichoke dip while I was out there, and sadly haven't had any of the sort since being back in London. I felt like I was seriously missing out, so decided to head off to the green grocer to pick up some artichokes. 

The manger of 'Leon's Fruit Shop' informed me that these artichokes were absolutely beautiful and had arrived straight from Brittany, fresh that morning. He also went to to tell me that I was very brave to use fresh artichokes, I just nodded and smiled to the comment, having no idea what he was talking about. However when I got home and went to get the artichokes out of the bag, I knew exactly what he was talking about, having been pricked and painfully stabbed by the ferocious spikes on the tips of the leaves. But it sure was rewarding getting the fresh artichoke hearts out, rather than using readily canned hearts. 


Anyway, lets get onto cooking the delicious dip.

Here's what you need.

3 Fresh Artichokes (or the canned equivalent)
1/2 Lemon
1 Garlic Bulb
200g Parmesan Cheese
200g Ricotta (could use Mozzarella instead)
200g Soft Cheese
1 Tablespoon of Mayo
1 Handful of Fresh Spinach

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C or 350°F.




Start by chopping off the stalks.


Rip off all of the outer green leaves (making extra sure not to prick yourself on the ends of the ferocious leaves).



Stop when you get down to the thinner purple tipped leaves, which make up the top of the 'choke'.


Cut all the excess of the green leaves off.


Squeeze some lemon onto the white flesh of the heart as they start to brown really quickly.


Cut off the top of the choke.


The purple leaves will fly everywhere when you start to cut it off.



This white spiky part is the base of the choke and although it looks all soft an fluffy it is certainly not!

They are like very fine little needles which stick into your skin the little buggers. They are also highly inedible due to the fact that they set off your gag-reflex and making you choke (hence the very appropriate name of 'choke'). Therefore avoid with extreme caution and try and remove as much of the choke as you can with a sharp knife.



Cut the artichoke heart into as small pieces as you like (the smaller the better as you don't really want huge chunks in the dip), and place into a large mixing bowl.



Finely chop up the garlic and add to the bowl.


Add the soft cheese.


Grate the parmesan into the bowl.


Add a dollop of mayo.


Large handful of spinach.


Crumble in the ricotta.

Then mix it all up.


And put it all into a oven proof bowl ready for cooking.


In it goes for about 20-30 mins until its got a golden colour on the top and some of the cheese is bubbling.




Et Voila!

A little taste of new New York in the comfort of you're own kitchen.

Best eaten hot and straight out of the oven, so the cheese is all gooey and delicious.

You can eat it with whatever you want; toast, crisps, crackers, crostini's, breadsticks...



(I think my sisters liked it - they couldn't quite keep their hands off it!)

If you don't quite finish it all in one session, be sure to cover it and keep it refrigerated. Reheat it for about 10 minutes in the oven when you're just dying for some more.

Bon appetit!

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