This title comes off presumptuous, but let me explain. I had spinach and artichoke dip for the first time at a 5-star restaurant in the 80's just outside Washington D.C., that my grandparents took me to. And I remember being so nervous to try it all steamy and melty in a small iron skillet on a gold stand- it seemed completely exotic to my ten-year-old mind. What was I to do? Well, the tablecloths were pristine and the lighting was low and my tights were terribly itchy, so getting on with trying it was a good idea. My grandparents looked at me with hopeful faces. I ate it. I loved it. They were super proud.
I forgot about that experience until I was fifteen and went to steak house on a double date. I saw the spinach dip on the menu, ordered it for the table - so sure it would be epic (none of the others had tried it before). I felt so cool. It was awful. All mayo and no seasoning- gaggy.
So a quest of sorts started, to try all the spinach dips. Like every time I went out to eat if they had it, I ordered no matter the 'quality' of the restaurant. And believe it or not, until I was married and in my 20's, only Applebee's dip was close to the original one I'd had. Time to buck up and make it myself.
Here is my recipe. Through trial and error and so hundreds of helpings of spinach dip. I do bring it to any potluck, make it at the holidays, and get asked for the recipe every time someone eats it for the first time. I am not lying. (I should pre-write it out, duh.) It's easier to make than you think, it does NOT have cream cheese - (not a correct ingredient people!) and utilizes a spice blend made by Lawry's. Accessible is a good word, here.
"If you really want to be extra and blow people's brains up, add 1 cup of crumbled cooked bacon - insane."
Notes: Butter is unsalted. Mayo is Hellmann's. Sour Cream is full-fat, Daisy.
THE BEST SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP
Ingredients: 1 box frozen spinach-thawed, 2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup cheap grated parmesan (shaky can kind), 2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese (containing mozzarella, asiago, pecorino, parmesan, fontina, etc.), 1/2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning, 2 tsp. Lawry's garlic salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 3 tbsp. butter cut into tiny cubes.
1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. Remove thawed spinach from its box and squeeze out all the liquid. Place in a large bowl. Drain artichokes, then chop into small pieces. Add these to the bowl.
3. Add sour cream and mayonnaise into the bowl. Stir to combine well. Sprinkle in garlic salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, stir to mix. Add parmesan and 1 cup of Italian blend shredded cheese. Fold in.
4. Spoon into a cast-iron skillet or 8x8 baking dish. Top with remaining 1 cup Italian blend cheese. Dot over the small cubes of butter. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
5. Remove foil. Turn up oven to broil. Crack the door and watch closely- cook for 5-6 minutes until cheese is bubbling and burnished and beautiful. Remove, cool slightly then serve.