Every time I set out to make this recipe, I’m intimidated by how much work it’s going to be, and every time I’m surprised by how quickly and easily it comes together. I think I get scared initially because it involves making a sauce from scratch, and I’m still a little mystified by sauce chemistry. What if I burn the flour? What if the sauce breaks? It feels like a lot of high-risk, split-second timing, and I’m still not totally clear on the whole emulsification process, and how or whether I can re-emulsify a sauce that has de-emulsified.
If that’s all Greek to you, just don’t worry about it, because in this case you’re pretty much just throwing cheese in a pot and it’s delicious. Someday in the future, I’ll do a breakdown of the different types of sauces; supposedly if you can master the five “mother sauces,” you have the building blocks for a lot of different dishes. (It kind of sounds like something out of a kung fu movie.) But for this dish, you’re just making a simple cheese sauce, and I find that it’s pretty forgiving. You start by sautéing diced onions and garlic in butter, then add a little flour and stir for a minute before adding the milk and cheese. I had everything measured out and sitting ready before I started, and I also stood there watching the sauce the whole time, without trying to multi-task. In the course of my cooking adventures, I’ve definitely sacrificed way too many perfectly good sauces and veggies and baked goods because I was trying to do too many things at once. Parallelization is all well and good, but sometimes it pays to just stop and focus. This is one of those times; just pay attention to the sauce and it will come out amazing.
(That said, I think I did chop up the spinach and artichokes while the cheese and milk were cooking down. No big deal; I just set up the cutting board right next to the stove and kept an eye on it, stirring occasionally.)
This sandwich is basically a cheddary spinach artichoke dip in grilled cheese form, which is just as incredible as you’d expect. I didn’t have time to make the homemade potato chips like she suggests, but we just had some oven-baked fries alongside and it was great. Gooey, hearty, cheesy goodness – definitely a good choice for when you’re in the mood for pub fare but don’t actually feel like going out.