As summer approaches, so typically do a number of gatherings between family and friends. Memorial Day kicks things off, and then there are a whole host of parties and plans to look forward to -- many of which require a food contribution from you.
One of my favorite dishes to bring is this hearty appetizer from Live Pretty -- Artichoke and Crab Dip. It's rich and satisfying, but it also gets a summery twist with a pretty and delicious topping of fresh tomatoes and basil. Served with tortilla chips, it's always a hit, and it might even be all you need for a main course some nights.
2 (4-oz.) cans of lump crab meat drained (I use canned but you can also use fresh, just smell it before you buy it to make sure it is really fresh)
1 (14- to 15-oz.) can artichoke hearts drained
8 oz. mayonnaise
8 oz. sour cream
4 T dry bread crumbs
3 large garlic cloves chopped very fine
1 (8-oz.) packet of mixed Italian cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (I use about 10 cranks of fresh black pepper and 1/2 tsp kosher salt)
1 pint grape tomatoes
10-12 large fresh basil leaves (about half of one of those basil packets you can find in the produce aisle)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Turn oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 10" glass pie pan or 9" x 9" square baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.
Put artichokes in a large mixing bowl, break up into small pieces with your hands. (You are mainly just squishing them and breaking them apart into small pieces.)
Add crab meat, 1/2 packet of cheese, garlic, mayo, sour cream, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix together until thoroughly incorporated. Dip should hold together well when scooped up with a spoon. If the dip is really wet, add 1 to 2 more T of bread crumbs until it holds together well.
Spread dip in your pan, top with the rest of the cheese.
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and cheese starts to brown on the edges.
While baking, slice your tomatoes in half, chop up your basil -- the easiest way to chop basil is to stack the leaves, roll them, and cut in strips with a sharp knife or scissors. Toss basil and tomatoes with your olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
When dip is completely baked through, bubbling and starting to brown on the top, take out of the oven and place aside to cool for about 5 minutes. Once cooled a bit, top with the tomato mixture and serve with tortilla chips.
Hungry? Need dinner ideas? Just love anything and everything food and recipes? Then you'll totally want to follow us on Pinterest! Our virtual pin boards on Kid Friendly Recipes , Sweet Treats and Easter 2012 are pure eye candy. Yum!
Image via Live Pretty