One of the things I look forward to most every December is my friend (and realtor extraordinaire) Brandi’s cookie exchange. Two dozen women each bring six dozen cookies, dump them in the dining room on their way into the kitchen, and then proceed to drink two dozen bottles of Prosecco.
It’s a cookie exchange that isn’t totally about the cookies. And it is a good time.
This year, my favorite part of the party wasn’t the cookies (never is). Or the Naughty Punch (always is). Or even the straight Prosecco when it was too much work to get up and walk into the kitchen for more punch (because why do that when you can carry a bottle around the house with you).
My favorite part was the artichoke bread. Guys. A loaf of bread split in half and topped with a creamy mixture of artichokes, cheese, and garlic and then baked to bubbly, melty perfection.
Who need chips or crackers when you bake your dip directly on the bread?
Bubbly, melty, cheesy perfection only gets better with that container of crab that has to be eaten, like, yesterday later. But, you know wasn’t. Because Prosecco.
Serve it with dinner. Or as dinner. And then lunch and dinner again.
Cheesy Crab & Artichoke Bread
Cheese, artichokes, and crab are baked on top of ciabatta for the ultimate party food.
- 1 large loaf ciabatta (my loaf was ~15in x 6in)
- 2 cans quartered artichokes, drained well
- 8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (sour cream or mayo would also work)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 green onions, sliced and dark green parts reserved for garnish
- 4 cloves garlic
- Small handful of parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp old bay seasoning
- 8 oz shredded cheese (I used half cheddar, half Monterrey jack)
- 8 oz lump crab
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Cut the loaf of ciabatta in half horizontally and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, a couple of dashes of Worcestershire, white and light green parts of the green onions, garlic, parsley, and Old bay seasoning.
- Stir in the cheese, artichokes, and crab until everything is nicely coated.
- Generously top the two halves of the ciabatta with the artichoke mixture, spreading it all the way to the edges of the bread.
- Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the broiler on for an additional 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese (keep an eye on it while broiling).
- Slice into strips and serve warm/hot.
- I had ~3/4 cup of the topping leftover that I put into a ramekin and baked along side the bread.
- Leftovers will keep tightly wrapped in the fridge - reheat in the oven for ~10 minutes.
Yields: A lot. Servings vary.
Estimated time: 35 minutes