Hot Crab and Artichoke Dip is an easy appetizer to throw together. Find out the tricks to take it over the top!
What a game yesterday! My beloved Packers lost their shot to the Super Bowl in overtime; a disappointing ending but – wow! – what an exciting game it was. The Seahawks earned their win and I congratulate their fans and wish them luck at the big game.
Truth be told, I’m not a major football fan. For me, it’s something that ties me to my homeland of Wisconsin and allows me to keep some of those old traditions alive in my east coast life. Being loyal to my home team brings a joy that I never experienced when I was younger and I enjoy watching the games much more now (especially when we’re winning)! The one thing I’ve always loved, however, is the food that goes hand in hand with a rowdy football party.
Appetizers are the type of fun food that I just can’t resist making or eating. They’re such a fun way to have a meal or entertain; you can make so many different types and, for the most part, they’re incredibly easy to throw together. For yesterday’s “party” – there were just a few of us – I threw together this Hot Crab and Artichoke Dip and some Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings (recipe coming later this week). Nothing too out-of-the-box or fancy, just a couple of easy appetizers that everyone would enjoy. Both are great recipes (those wings REALLY are crispy; I use the same technique as my Crispy Asian Drumsticks) and you’ll be proud to serve them at your own football party.
There’s a local restaurant I frequent that serves their own Crab and Artichoke Dip. Every time I go, I always gravitate toward it (I’m a sucker for hot, cheesy & gooey everything). It’s an okay dip, always satisfies my cheesy, gooey cravings, but it’s never been knock-your-socks-off delicious. I decided there are two reasons for this: one, the bread they serve for dipping isn’t toasted, it’s just a soft, simple bread. Something as gooey as Crab and Artichoke Dip needs a crunchy texture to contrast the creaminess. Two, there’s simply not enough crab. There’s a reason it’s called “Crab and Artichoke Dip” and not simply “Artichoke Dip”. And I don’t just want crab, I want a nice chunk of tender crab in every bite.
My recipe fixes those two issues quite nicely, if I do say so myself.
I add an entire pound of jumbo lump crab which, I’ll admit, is a lot of crab. You could easily cut that down by a quarter and still have plenty of crab to go around. The secret isn’t how much crab you add, however, it’s taking gentle care of the crab you’ve got. Instead of gently mixing the crab into the dip – and risking it breaking up into smaller pieces – I layer it into the middle so that there’s one solid crab layer baked into the middle of the creamy dip layers. It all bakes together and you can’t tell that there are layers, but it keeps the crab in happy crab chunks, not little flakes that can get lost in a sea of dip.
To make the crostini, just slice a baguette, place on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Then just toss them in the oven next to the dip during the last 10-15 minutes of baking. You’ll love the crunchy contrast to the creamy Crab and Artichoke Dip and it’s worth the small amount of extra effort.
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- 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayo
- a few dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded cheese (I use a combination of mozzarella, parmesan, fontina and asiago; be sure to use white, light-flavored cheeses that won't overpower the crab)
- 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice, to taste (from a wedge about 1/8 of a lemon)
- kosher salt & white pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. (16 oz.) jumbo-lump crab meat (this is a lot of crab, use a little less if you prefer)
- sliced green onions or chives, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese, sour cream, mayo and worcestershire until thoroughly combined. Stir in cheese and artichokes. Season to taste with kosher salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Spray a baking dish or small cast iron pan with cooking spray. Spread half the dip mixture into pan, gently top with crab, then spoon the remaining dip onto crab so it's completely covered.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling hot and starting to lightly brown. Serve immediately (careful, it will be VERY hot) with crunchy crostini or bread slices.