For better spinach-artichoke dip, give the gooey cream cheese a couple of big-personality friends: sharp cheddar and zesty Dijon mustard. Team up with seedy crackers and toasted bread.

Photo: Rocky Luten

INGREDIENTS  

  • 1 pound frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated, divided
  • teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard

HOW TO PREPARE

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 2.5-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. (I used a 10.5 x 7.5-inch casserole dish.) 
  2. Bundle the thawed spinach in a kitchen towel. Hold over the sink, a bowl, or garbage can. Squeeze into oblivion. When you think you’ve squeezed all there is to squeeze, squeeze one more time. Dump the spinach in a big mixing bowl. (Discard the liquid or save for future smoothies.) 
  3. Wring out the towel to remove any excess moisture. Now bundle up the drained artichokes. Hold over the sink, a bowl, or garbage can and, this time, squeeze a little more gently. You want to get rid of extra water, but not totally smush the delicate artichoke hearts. (Discard the liquid.) Once they artichokes are dry, rough-chop them, then add to the bowl with the spinach. 
  4. Add the cream cheese to the bowl. Use a spoon to mix until almost cohesive. Add all but 3/4 cup of the grated cheddar (that will go on top!) and mix again. Add the salt, pepper, and dijon and mix again. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. 
  5. Transfer the spinach-artichoke dip to the buttered baking dish. Spread out so it fills the dish evenly. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheddar on top. 
  6. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the interior of the dip is hot. Turn on the broiler. Broil for about 4 minutes until the top is beautifully browned. 
  7. Serve hot with crackers.