Fresh Ideas: Peppery spinach-artichoke dip

Photo by HELANA BRIGMANSpinach-Artichoke Dip With Spicy Cayenne provides a real kick. Serve with your favorite chip or toasted baguette slices. Show caption
Photo by HELANA BRIGMANSpinach-Artichoke Dip With Spicy Cayenne provides a real kick. Serve with your favorite chip or toasted baguette slices.

As many readers may know, I’m a bit of a seasonal cook. And my first book, “The Fresh Table: Cooking in Louisiana All Year Round,” is out just in time for spring. Its recipes are seasonal and the content is a blend of tried-and-true classics from my Clearly Delicious website and from south Louisiana residents.

With the book’s recent release, I thought I’d give The Advocate’s readers a preview of one of the recipes found in the book’s spring section: Spinach Artichoke Dip With Spicy Cayenne.

When I was developing the recipes for “The Fresh Table,” I wanted the seasonal menus to reflect what was affordable and available in our Southern gardens, markets and produce stands, while also taking advantage of fresh (albeit, sometimes freshly frozen) goods when necessary.

A fresh table doesn’t have to be fresh in every sense of the word — freshly cracked pepper, freshly plucked herbs — but fresh in some ingredients, like a beautiful head of spinach from the market, or just “fresh” in ideas.

For this recipe, the spinach and artichoke hearts are not picked straight from the garden (although if you have these resources available, please make the substitution) but freshly frozen and canned. I don’t know a single cook who’d like to quarter his or her own artichoke hearts.

What separates this recipe from other spinach artichoke dips is my addition of spicy cayenne. It’s one of my favorite spring recipes.

Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. She can be reached with daily recipes at http://clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com or via email at hbrigm1@tigers.lsu.edu.