Today is National Artichoke Hearts Day. And what do you do with artichoke hearts? Make dip, of course! Who doesn’t like Artichoke Dip? I mean besides my Hubby, who in their right mind doesn’t like artichoke dip?
Did you know that the artichoke is actually the unopened flower of a thistle plant? I always thought of thistle plants as those beautiful but mean plants that grow wild in California. And while those are thistle plants, it turns out they are not the same as the thistle plant that produces Artichokes. Here and I thought we were putting a mean weed to good use.
I don’t know if I am a fan of artichokes because I grew up in California, the biggest producer of Artichokes in the nation, supplying over 90% of the artichokes consumed in America, or if it’s a throwback to my hippie days and eating artichoke leaves dipped in mayonnaise on the beaches of San Francisco. Maybe it’s both and just maybe that is because artichokes are darn good to eat. Why else would Castroville hold a giant Artichoke Festival each year and why else would all those people travel from all over just to eat Artichokes? Besides, artichokes are good for you. A medium-sized globe artichoke is completely fat-free, with only 25 calories in the whole thing. That is right up until I dip mine in mayonnaise or better still, garlic butter. Maybe, just maybe for me artichokes are like escargot – a means of popping garlicky butter into my mouth.
Anyway, while the big two-day event is Castroville isn’t until May, today is National Artichoke Heart Day. So let’s make something with artichokes
Artichoke Dip Stuffed French Bread
8 oz Cream Cheese
2 Garlic Cloves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
Dried Dill Weed , to taste
8 oz Artichoke Hearts in water; drained and chopped
1 Loaf French Bread
Sliced Baguette or assorted crackers for serving
Take cream cheese out of the refrigerator, unwrap and set on the counter to warm and soften.
Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside.
Grate Parmesan cheese, dividing into 2/3 cup for dip, 1/3 cup for topping.
Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, and dill weed, until smooth. Drain and chop the artichoke hearts, then stir hearts into the dip. Set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the top edge of the bread off and hollow out a well about 1 and 1/2 inches deep for the artichoke dip. Keep the hollowed out bread for dipping.
Spoon the dip evenly into well. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
Place on a rimmed baking pan and bake in the heated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Arrange the Artichoke-Stuffed French Bread on a serving platter with baguette slices or assorted crackers for dipping.