Topped with a vibrant slice of smoked salmon on a crispy piece of crostini, these spinach artichoke crostini with smoked salmon are sure to be a hit! The rich, creamy flavor of artichoke spinach dip with a summery lemon tang makes a perfect warm-weather appetizer. You can make everything in 30 minutes, or dip and crostini can be made separately in advance!
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Crostini may be my favorite category of appetizers. They’re easy to put together, yet exude an air of fanciness far beyond the amount of work that goes into them.
Crostini are so versatile and the possibilities are endless! And the crisp bread is always such a delightful complement to whatever you put on top — whether it’s something summery like heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh peaches or something heartier like steak, blue cheese, and savory blueberry red onion jam.
This spinach artichoke crostini with smoked salmon is meant to be a warm-weather appetizer, made with a cold spinach artichoke dip with preserved lemon and topped with tender and salty cold-smoked salmon.
About Artichoke Spinach and Smoked Salmon Crostini
This crostini recipe starts with a warm-weather twist on spinach artichoke dip — instead of the typical hot dip, this one is served chilled or room temperature and is brightened up with some fresh lemon zest and juice. Finely diced preserved lemon rinds add extra bursts of salty citrus.
Lest you be concerned that this is an overly-lemony concoction (after all, I’m quite the Lemon Lover), the tartness in the spinach artichoke dip is balanced by a good helping of Parmesan cheese.
The dip is made with freshly steamed spinach and tender baby artichoke hearts for a fresh flavor and tender texture unmarred by too-large fibrous artichoke leaves.
And smoked salmon turned out to be the perfect complement for the cold spinach artichoke dip! Of all the ways I’ve used this cold lemony spinach artichoke dip recipe — as a spread or dip, in tea sandwiches, or with smoked salmon and crostini — the crostini is my favorite of all.
A few notes about the ingredients
Spinach: I always recommend using fresh spinach and steaming it, rather than using frozen. It tastes about a hundred times better. That said, if you have some frozen you need to use up, it will work in this recipe.
Artichoke hearts: Use whole baby artichoke hearts or the smallest ones you can find. Using whole rather than quartered artichoke hearts can ensure they’re not just smaller pieces of large artichoke hearts. The smaller they are, the more tender and the less likely you’ll encounter tough, fibrous leaves.
Preserved lemons: These can be difficult to find in a regular grocery store. You may find them in the ethnic food section (they’re often used in Moroccan cooking), and I’ve also seen them at World Market. I order mine on Amazon. Or, if you want to go all out, you can make your own.
To use a preserved lemon, you wash off the brine, cut the lemon into wedges, and slide a knife between the meat and the rind to remove the flesh. Discard the flesh, as it’s far too salty, and dice up the rind to use in the recipe!
If you can’t find preserved lemons, you can leave them out, but I think they add a lot to this recipe!
Presenting your crostini
This recipe is really fun to turn into a fancy display! I started by making a bed of fresh spinach leaves (you can set some aside before steaming the rest — the small amount missing won’t affect the recipe).
In the center I put one whole artichoke heart, cutting off the end to make a flat bottom. Then you can open up the leaves to make a flower, and wrap a couple small pieces of smoked salmon around the center of the artichoke for a bud.
Arrange the crostini radiating out from the center for a beautiful presentation! If you have a large round platter, you can do two rings of crostini around the middle.
What goes well with spinach artichoke crostini?
These are great as an appetizer for a light, summery meal or as part of a spring or summer afternoon tea. Here are a few ideas of what to serve these with!
More crostini recipes
Love crostini as much as I do? Try some of these other crostini recipes!
For the Spinach Artichoke Dip Spread
- 5 oz fresh baby spinach
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 14-oz can or jar baby artichoke hearts drained and finely chopped
- 3/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice to taste
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 preserved lemon (optional)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to taste
For the Crostini
- 1 baguette about 20" long
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- kosher salt
For the Appetizers
- 8 oz lox or cold smoked salmon
- freshly ground black pepper
For the Display (optional)
- 1 handful fresh spinach leaves
- 1 artichoke heart
- smoked salmon scraps several small pieces
For the Spinach Artichoke Dip Spread
- Put spinach in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes or until fully wilted.
- Drain spinach. When cool enough to handle, put spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. You'll end up with a tiny little ball of steamed spinach. Transfer to a cutting board and chop finely.
- To prepare the preserved lemon, first cut it into wedges. Remove the flesh from each wedge with a knife and discard. You will only be using the rind. Finely dice the rind and set aside.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream until smooth.
- Add in chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, preserved lemon rind, and black pepper. Add 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice to taste and 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to taste.
For the crostini
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut loaf of bread into slices 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick. I use my finger as an approximate measurement – somewhere between pinky-width and index-finger-width is a good thickness for a slice for me (I have smallish hands). For smaller slices, cut in straight slices; for larger slices, cut diagonally.
- Lay out slices on a large baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly on one side with course kosher salt.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes. Outsides should be crispy but inside should still have some chew. The center should have a little spring to it when you push down.
- Spread each crostini with about a tablespoon of artichoke spinach spread. Top each with a small piece of smoked salmon (about the size of the crostini or slightly smaller so you can see some of the spread around the edges).
- Grind some black pepper on the tops of the crostini and serve immediately.
To make ahead
- The spread may be made up to a few days in advance and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before assembling crostini.
- Crostini may also be made in advance. Either prepare and toast them in advance, let them cool fully, and store at room temperature in a zip top bag, or cut and oil the bread and freeze. When you are ready to prepare the appetizers, preheat the oven, salt the frozen crostini, and bake as if from fresh.
To create the display (optional)
- Arrange large raw spinach leaves on a round plate with stems pointing toward the center of the plate. Leave a flat space in the center.
- Cut the end off an artichoke heart to create a flat bottom. Place the flat bottom in the center of the plate and gently open the outer leaves of the artichoke heart to create an open flower. Take several small strips of smoked salmon and curl them around the center of the artichoke, alternating sides, to create a flower bud.
- Arrange the crostini around the artichoke/salmon flower on top of the spinach leaves.