There are times when we go to a lot of trouble to purchase a bunch of ingredients for a recipe. Later, we discover that most of the ingredients were used to make just a small part of that recipe! This is a part we could have purchased already prepared and then not had all these leftovers to deal with.
The reminder of that came once again while I was describing how to make the classic Oysters Rockefeller–from scratch.
The interested party’s grimace and expressions told me he was never going to do this at home. It was too much work and too many INGREDIENTS!
I immediately went to plan “B,” which is to say, recipe “B,” which, in all seriousness, is really recipe “A2.”
I’ll go back to the beginning by saying that Nino’s Spinach Dip is fabulous and a classic recipe in and of itself.
In fact, it’s one of the top-selling products year in and year out in our Gourmet to Go department. With over 600 products on our books, that’s saying a lot!
Now, back to my story. I’ll refresh your memory by reminding you that Oysters Rockefeller is a dish prepared with freshly shucked oysters and spinach (in a cream sauce). It’s topped with cheese and bread crumbs and then baked or broiled.
Well? Guess what? Our Spinach Dip gets you 75 percent there, and with a LOT less hassle. So that’s what they learned how to make from my explanation–and absolutely loved from what I heard later. (The recipe follows.)
And Oysters Rockefeller isn’t the only success story you can have with Spinach Dip as an “ingredient.”
What else can you make?
Plenty of things, and here are a few.
Spinach Dip makes a fantastic substitute for mayonnaise in any sandwich or wrap. The additional flavor of spinach and that hint of garlic and dill are wonderful together. It’s also a great partner to Swiss and Gruyere cheeses.
Fillet of Salmon With Spinach Dip Crust
Mix 3/4 cup Spinach Dip with 1/2 Cup Nino’s Italian Bread Crumbs and 2 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese. Spread or pipe a ½” layer of this mixture over a fresh salmon fillet and bake in a 400 F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes for a fabulously moist crust. A finishing sprig of fresh dill makes this a restaurant-quality experience!
Spinach Biscuit Empanadas
If you’re a fan of Pillsbury’s line of refrigerated bake-and-serve rolls (the ones that come in the tubes), you’re in luck. This is especially true if you love their Grand’s biscuits. Open the package, and press one biscuit on a lightly floured board to about 3” in diameter. Brush a dab of beaten egg wash around the perimeter, and place a good tablespoon-sized dollop of Spinach Dip in the center with a tablespoon of shredded Gruyere cheese on top. Now, just add a second plain biscuit of the same size on top, and seal it by pinching the edges all the way around. Brush the top with egg wash again, and bake at 375 F for about 15 minutes. Congrats! You’ve just made a Spinach Dip Empanada! Want to get crazy? Add a half artichoke in the center!
Now, as promised, here is a short Oysters Rockefeller recipe.
Shuck fresh oyster, remove oyster meat from the shell and save the deepest half of the shell.
Place 1 TBSP of Spinach Dip in the bottom of the shell, and place the oyster on top.
Place 1 TBSP of Spinach Dip on top of the oyster. At this point, if you want to be REALLY classic, you can add ½ tsp of Pernod liquor on top of the dip. (It’s that liquor that kinda tastes like licorice.)
Finish with a teaspoon of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese and a heavy dusting of seasoned bread crumbs drizzled with some melted butter.
Lightly crunch up some aluminum foil. Place on a baking pan, so you can safely nest each finished oyster, crumb side up–level and secure inside each shell.
Bake at 400 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or broil with the rack positioned on the lowest shelf placement until the Spinach Dip is bubbly and the bread crumbs are a golden brown.
There are plenty of other great recipes you can create on your own from Spinach Dip. You’re only limited by your creativity. Give it a try, then share with me in the comments below!