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Dip into this creamy spread

  • PHOTO COURTESY NEW YORK TIMES

People might be going to restaurants and having friends over for dinner again, but are they ready to gather around a communal dip bowl with crackers and carrot sticks in hand?

The answer will vary depending on the situation and how comfortable you are with the people who will be sharing the dip.

But whether you’re ready to invite friends over for a summer barbecue — in which case, you could add a spoon to the bowl so people can pile dip onto their plates — or you’re just craving an easy dinner for your immediate household, this creamy spinach dip recipe would be a fine candidate.

Full of minced herbs and Greek yogurt, it’s a fresher, tangier take on the classic retro version that’s studded with water chestnuts and mounded into a bread bowl. Instead of relying on dehydrated soup powder for its lively zip, this recipe has cumin, lemon zest and plenty of garlic.

It’s creamy enough for easy scooping without shattering the potato chips, but not so runny that it will drip. And, unlike, say, a molten artichoke dip that congeals as it cools, this will stay just as inviting for hours, at least until the bowl has been wiped clean with the last of the radishes.

You can make this dip from fresh, blanched spinach or from a box of thawed chopped frozen spinach. I’ve tried it both ways and, honestly, once you mix it into the garlicky, spicy yogurt mixture, it’s hard to tell the difference.

In either case, the trick to getting the best flavor is to make sure to squeeze the heck out of the greens before folding them into the dip. I usually just use my hands, but you can also roll the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out. Watery spinach is no dip’s friend.

One more thing to note: If you are using fresh spinach, make sure to chop it finely, so you don’t end up with any long strands hanging off your cracker.

Serve this dip in a shallow bowl alongside chips and veggies that are cut into smallish pieces rather than long wands. This helps deter double-dipping, a dip hazard I think we can all live without.

Spinach dip with garlic, yogurt and dill

Ingredients:

• 10 ounces fresh baby spinach, or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
• 3/4 cup scallions, sliced whites and greens (from about 1 bunch)
• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, preferably whole milk
• 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup dill, chopped
• 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
• 2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed, plus more to taste
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, plus more to taste
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to garnish
Urfa or Aleppo pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

If you’re using fresh spinach, put it in a colander in the sink. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour it over the spinach to wilt it. Let the spinach cool completely, then use your hands to squeeze it so it’s very dry.

Coarsely chop spinach and set it aside. If you’re using frozen chopped spinach, just squeeze it out until it’s very dry, then set it aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine scallions, yogurt, cream cheese, dill, parsley, garlic, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, zest, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil and blend, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is very smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and fold in the chopped spinach until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Dip will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Just before serving, taste and add more salt and lemon juice, if you like. To serve, scrape dip into a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Urfa or Aleppo pepper flakes, if desired.

Total time: 20 minutes, plus at least 30 minutes for chilling; makes 2 cups.

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