I came up with four variations on this Augusta party classic, which is from Tea-Time at the Masters, and now I’m adding another tasty variation: Peppery Bacon-Cheddar Artichoke Spread.
The original spread is a combination of chopped artichoke hearts, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese with a dash of Tabasco. This new version replaces the Parmesan with sharp cheddar and adds crumbled bacon and a good amount of crushed black pepper. I’ve included the original recipe and the variations below.
The spread is a great addition to any weekend party or pool-side get-together. Serve with wheat crackers.
PEPPERY BACON-CHEDDAR ARTICHOKE SPREAD
6 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp and coarsely chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, well drained
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¾ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
5 dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
Wheat crackers, for serving
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts and place them into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well-combined. (Or, you can combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse it several times to chop the artichoke hearts and combine the ingredients.)
Spread in a baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly around the edges.
Serve with wheat crackers.
Makes 6-8 appetizer servings.
ORIGINAL HOT ARTICHOKE SPREAD
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup regular or lowfat mayonnaise
6 to 8 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
Dash Tabasco sauce
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and place into a small baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly. Serve with plain crackers.
Variation 1: Chili Cheese Artichoke Dip
Substitute shredded cheddar cheese for the Parmesan and add a 4-ounce can of diced green chilies. Serve with corn chips for dipping.
Variation 2: Crab and Artichoke Dip
Double the standard recipe and add:
1 2-ounce jar chopped pimentos, drained
8 ounces crab meat, picked over
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
Combine all ingredients and pour into baking dish. Top with 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds and serve with pita triangles or plain crackers. This makes enough for 16-20 appetizer servings.
Variation 3: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Prepare standard recipe adding 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed (remove as much liquid as possible) and 3 ounces of softened cream cheese. Serve with tortilla chips or plain crackers.
Variation 4: Cold Artichoke Dip
Prepare standard recipe, decreasing mayonnaise to 1/2 cup and mashing artichokes well with a fork. Chill before serving with crackers.