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Last weekend I prepared the food for a friend’s baby’s first birthday party. There were 25 adult guests and the menu included a few already-blogged recipes like Spinach Blues Salad and Cheez-It Crack, a few I have yet to share with you but will soon, and this Hot Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip. I first had this dip at a wonderful little restaurant in Napa, California in 2010. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but the chef was kind enough to jot the recipe down on a piece of register tape for me. I am entering it here on this blog now for all of posterity :)
This dip is warm and creamy and satisfying like spinach dip usually is but it has the added tang of goat cheese, one of my favorite flavors. It is also enhanced by the addition of fresh herbs and roasted garlic. Finally, using fresh spinach instead of frozen sets this dip apart, as it keeps the spinach from being a mushy mesh and less likely to make your dip watery (in my opinion).
So while this recipe may involve a few more steps than the traditional spinach dip, I think you and your guests will be quite pleased with the results. I know I have never received any complaints and the empty serving dish always speaks for itself ;)
Hot Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip
Yields 1-9″ x 13″ shallow dish
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup blanched and squeezed spinach (you will need a large bag of fresh spinach to achieve this amount, see directions)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sour cream
12 ounces goat cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
6 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice off top 1/4 of head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Wrap in foil and roast in oven for 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle then squeeze garlic from skin, reserving garlic and discarding skin.
While the garlic is roasting, bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Have a strainer with a handle ready. Put an entire large bag of spinach leaves into the boiling water and stir to immerse all of them. You may not think they will all fit but they will if you give it a stir. After 30 seconds, remove the spinach with the strainer and immediately immerse it in the ice water bath. Once the spinach is completely cool, remove from the ice water and squeeze the excess water out. Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and continue to squeeze until very dry. The more water you get out of your spinach at this stage, the less likely you will be to have runny dip later. Measure out 3/4 cup of spinach and chop it with a knife a few times to break up the leaves.
In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and goat cheese, and beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Stir in roasted garlic, parsley, chives, tarragon, and garlic powder. Stir in spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread into shallow baking dish and bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until starting to bubble around the edges. Serve with tortilla chips or toasted baguette slices.