What are the building blocks of an easy, inexpensive meal? For staff writer Kendra Vaculin, nothing does the trick quite like 3 Eggs and a Can. Follow this series for her mealtime moves based around that simple, versatile formula—and all the directions it can go.
I was a late bloomer with regard to gloopy dairy. Sour cream and yogurt weirded me out for most of my youth and to this day I scrape 80 percent of the cream cheese off my bagel (though I think this has more to do with the average New York bagel store’s out-of-whack proportions than my own personal tastes). Creamy dips, however, have always been the exception. Nothing is better than charred onion dip, herby feta dip, garlicky yogurt dip, and especially my mom’s classic sun-dried tomato and basil dip, which is mostly cream cheese and butter. To me, a bowl of dairy-laden dip means company is coming over—and having to wait until at least a few of the guests arrive before attacking it with crackers and crudités.
Of course, “company” has a whole new meaning these days, and while I’m relishing socially distant stoop-hangs with friends, we are definitely not in a position to be scooping out of a collective bowl of dip any time soon. So creamy spreads are still on the menu, just in a repurposed format. Garlicky yogurt makes a great swoosh for the bottom of a grain bowl, while the sun-dried tomato number is wildly good tossed with pasta. For fan favorite spinach-artichoke dip, though, my meal-appropriate revamp comes in the form of a simple loaded frittata.
To turn this hall of fame dip into dinner, start by beating some eggs (and preheating your oven to 350°F). To address the elephant in the room: This column is called “3 Eggs and a Can” and in only the second installment in the series, I am asking you to use six eggs. I swear, it’s for a good reason! The three egg framework is what I’ll be using for the most part going forward, always for serving two people; this frittata, with twice the number of eggs, will feed twice the number of very hungry people—if not more (it also makes great reheated leftovers). So, in a large bowl, beat six eggs until smooth, and season with salt and pepper, to create the base of your frittata.
Next, whisk in a few ounces (I use three to four, a little less than half a brick) of cream cheese. It helps if your cream cheese is closer to room temperature than straight from the refrigerator, and if you use your fingers to break it up into pieces before dropping it into the eggs, but also, in this recipe, lumps are your friend. Part of the joy is finding little pockets of cream cheese in your slice of finished frittata, so avoid getting the mixture totally smooth.
Then pillage your freezer. You’ll need a thawed bag of frozen spinach (these range in size from 10 ounces to one pound and any will do; I’ve tried both ends of the spectrum and it always turns out great). Squeeze out and roughly chop the contents, making sure to cut up any big stemmy pieces.
Sauté your spinach in a drizzle of olive oil in a 10-inch pan over medium-high heat with a thinly sliced shallot and a few roughly chopped cloves of garlic. Add more if you’re an allium fan, and season with salt and pepper.
Once the shallot is slightly softened, transfer the whole lot into the bowl of eggs and cream cheese, with the addition of the zest and juice of half a lemon for brightness, a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat, and about ⅓ cup of grated Parmesan for more salty, cheesy flavor. Stir to thoroughly combine.
The canned artichoke hearts are my favorite part of spinach-artichoke dip, so I give them the star treatment in my frittata. I halve each heart (be sure to buy them whole, rather than quartered as they’re sometimes sold) and then, after wiping the same pan clean and heating a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, arrange them cut-side down. After about three minutes, I carefully pour the egg-spinach mixture over the top, and spread it into an even layer.
Cook this for about four more minutes, just so the bottom sets and the sides are beginning to pull back from the pan, then transfer the whole thing to the 350°F oven to cook through, which should take about 15 minutes. When you flip the frittata back over onto a plate (be careful, it’s hot!), the artichokes form a browned swirly pattern. I finish mine with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and usually a drizzle of hot sauce to cut through all the dairy; the result is a quick and inexpensive dish that’s suitable for company—whatever that means.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious