I can be really nostalgic at times, especially when my birthday is coming up soon! With Good Food Month happening and my Betty-Crocker-inspired entry to the Sydney Morning Herald Shoot The Chef being chosen as a finalist, I’ve been inspired by an era where dinner parties and suburban home dining was in its prime.
This dish fits right in between the Keen’s English Mustard Powder and parsley garnish in culinary history: The spinach dip. Funnily enough I was reminded of this chlorophyll themed dunking medium whilst dining at a joint called Little Beast in Bangkok. They had cleverly jogged a long-lost part of my memory bank with a sour cream version, which I enjoyed muchly, although I’m not sure if others shared my enthusiasm (their loss).
Anyways, here is my recipe for Spinach Dip. It’ll take a blink of an eye to make, and you can be a good little dinner party host by making it in advance so that your guests can munch away while you frantically prepare the main course… like a crazy.
You will need:
2 small leeks, washed
2 bunches of English spinach / green amaranth / Chinese spinach / Tuscan kale / cavolo nero (for a more bitter tasting dip)
a cup of quark
butter (I use grass fed)
extra virgin olive oil
a small wedge of lemon
vegetables like carrots, zucchini, cucumber, white cabbage, snow peas, washed and cut into batons for serving
Melt a knob of butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and sautee until they start to soften, then add the spinach and continue to cook until everything is soft. Turn off the heat and transfer the vegetables into a blender or food processor.
Add a pinch of sea salt, a generous slug of olive oil (about 4 tablespoons), and the quark. Pulse until the vegetables are pureed (I like to keep some visible chunks here and there) and everything is combined. Taste to check for seasoning and consistency. If the mixture is too thick, add some more olive oil.
Refigerate until cold, then serve with the vegetable batons, and mix in a squeeze of lemon just before serving to freshen it up. If you want to go allllll out, hollow out a round loaf of bread and fill it with the dip just before serving. Now that’s stylish suburban entertaining from 1966.