Growing up on the coast of North Carolina, I've had my share of creamy, cheesy, briny dip loaded with shell fish or crab of some sort. This dip is one I created on the fly with that canvas with ingredients I had on hand. You could easily replace the shrimp with crabmeat or oysters, even, and you can make this one day ahead. Win-win! —Mary Catherine Tee
butter (plus more for gratin dishes)
shallots, finely chopped
cloves of garlic, finely chopped
fresh, uncooked shrimp
summer ale or white wine
frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is preheating, shell the shrimp and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. I was using 31-40 count shrimp and cut each into thirds.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped shallots and stir to coat with butter; cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cut shrimp, season with salt, pepper, and the juice of one lemon half, stirring the mixture to coat. Cook, continuing to stir occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp are lightly pink.
Pour in the beer or wine, whichever you are using, to deglaze the pan, cooking until all the liquid has cooked off. Take off heat.
In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, spinach, the juice from the other halved lemon, and the gruyere. Add the shrimp and garlic mixture to the cheese and spinach mixture, folding lightly until everything is well combined.
Prepare four 10 oz. gratin dishes or an oven proof with softened butter. If using multiple dishes, distribute the mixture evenly among the dishes. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the dip bubbly.
Remove from oven and let cool a bit before serving. Garnish with chopped green onions and lemon quarters, and serve with crusty bread or crackers.
I’m an old soul. My favorite Saturday morning activity is watching birds on the feeder while drinking strong, black coffee out of my favorite hand-thrown mug. My favorite place to kill time is in antique stores. The less organized the better. I like full-bodied red wines and bitter IPAs. I live for feeling the warmth of sunshine and hearing the stillness of freshly fallen snow. I can thank my stint in Alaska for that. I have salt water in my veins, having grown up in Eastern NC, and (shhh…don’t tell any of my Mainer friends this about me) I prefer blue crab over lobster.