Cognitive Dipsonance: Ramp (or Leek) Hot Spinach Dip Recipe
What do a bunch of perfectly self-respecting ramps get themselves into when they kick back and go on vacation? A bowl of hot, bubbly Ramp Spinach Dip, that’s what.
This addictive take on hot spinach dip gets an extra punch of garlicky, verdant flavor from ramps, also known as wild leeks. You can substitute regular leeks if you don't have ramps available or would rather save them for another use.
You can use fresh or frozen spinach for this hot spinach dip recipe. Either way, be sure to drain it as well as possible.
On vacation at the beach...with vegetables
We are on vacation this week in the rainy, windy Outer Banks of North Carolina. Lucky for us (since we haven’t had the chance to go outside and play much without wearing garbage bags) we brought a houseful of similarly situated friends. Six adults, four little kids, two babies, one dog and — because it’s yours truly here, and what are your thirties for, if not for embracing yours truly — some fugitive ramps and young spinach from our markets in NJ. Who needs to snack on Oreos in the car when there’s the assertive waft of wild leeks to breathe in? Right? Hello?
Even ramps like a good hot spinach dip once in a while
I bought the ramps and spinach with a pungent pesto in mind. But, after an honest assessment of the crowd, a substantial percentage of which is pictured above, it became clear that even vegetables — even highfalutin vegetables that demand to be foraged — need to relax and have some fun on vacation. They’re wild, after all, when you think about it.
While you may feel a twinge of cognitive dissonance the moment those perfectly innocent veggies become one with the cheesy creaminess, won’t it be worth it to see smiles on those faces? And really, who needs more than that?
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch ramps, sliced (or substitute white and light green parts of 2 leeks)
- 10 ounces frozen spinach OR baby spinach
- 3 sundried tomatoes, minced
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F with a rack in the center.
- Heat the olive oil a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the ramps or leeks, along with a good pinch of salt, and sauté for about 3 minutes, until the whites start to become translucent.
- If using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions and drain thoroughly, squeezing out as much excess water as possible, before proceeding. Add the spinach, along with another pinch of salt, and sauté until wilted. Let cool slightly, and if there is any excess moisture, drain it.
- Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Mix or pulse until well combined. Add the Parmigiano cheese, the chopped sundried tomatoes and the ramp-spinach mixture and mix or pulse to incorporate.
- Spread the dip into a medium oven-proof dish and sprinkle with the Pepper Jack cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned around the edges and the dip is starting to bubble a bit. Cool slightly and serve with chips or toasts.