Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hot Crab & Artichoke Dip

Makes about 4 cups
Hot Crab & Artichoke Dip with French Bread Crostini
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled & chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 15-oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup sliced chives
1 # canned jumbo lump crab meat, drained (I highly recommend this brand)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 Tbl butter, melted
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.  Arrange a rack in the middle oven position.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, then swirl in the olive oil and add the onion.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and cook, about 2 minutes longer.  Add the artichoke hearts and continue to cook, about 2 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat, and cool at room temperature until needed. 
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand-held electric mixer), beat the creamed cheese on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, hot sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan.  Mix on medium-high until incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute longer.  Add the parsley and chives and stir by hand with the rubber spatula to combine.  Add the crab meat and the slightly cooled vegetable mixture to the cream cheese mixture.  Fold together, gently but thoroughly with the rubber spatula.  Transfer the mixture into appropriately sized casserole dish, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula. 
In a small mixing bowl, toss to combine the fresh bread crumbs with the melted butter.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup grated parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine.  Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the crab mixture in the dish.
Bake until golden brown on top and bubbling, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm with toasted French bread crostini.