3/29/2013

Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Dip

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Easter weekend heralds the official start of Spring for many.  The resurrection of Jesus and the rebirth of Mother Nature make for a beautiful and welcome marker on our calendars.  Many of us will celebrate this weekend with a standout Sunday meal.  When I think of Easter meals, I of course think of the glazed ham.  The next food that "springs" to mind (yow!) is asparagus.  It just goes with Easter and lots of people (including me) love it.  Yes, the asparagus is there in a starring role on top, but there is a lot going on underneath in the flavor department.


Those flavors are a blend of earthy sweetness from spring vegetables and herbs blending with the sharp, tangy notes of the cheeses accented with a kick from a bit of cayenne (optional, but good).  The texture has a creaminess that makes the dip perfect for spreading on crostini, toasts or crackers.  It is a great starter for your Spring gathering, but with a glass (or two☺) of white wine, it can easily be made into a meal.
Printable Recipe

Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Dip
serves 8-10

1 cup 1/2-inch pieces asparagus
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek (white and pale-green parts only)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4-ounces sharp white cheddar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can chopped artichoke hearts in water, drained
1/4 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled and divided

Preheat oven to 450° F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; let cool.

 In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally until thickened; remove from heat. Add cheddar; whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold in asparagus (reserve tips), artichoke hearts, peas, chives, flat-leaf parsley, zest, cayenne pepper and half (2-ounces) of the fresh goat cheese. 

Transfer mixture to a 4–5-cup baking dish and set on top of a rimmed baking sheet.  Arrange asparagus tips on top and dot with the remaining (2-ounces) goat cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 15–20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with crostini.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Bon App├ętit, April 2012

6 comments:

  1. Great idea for Easter brunch.

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  2. Blessed Good Friday, Nicole, and Happy Easter! Thank you for your terrific recipes which have graced many of our dinners and inspired us to make every Sunday dinner special.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How sweet of you! You made my day☺. Kindest regards to you as well.

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  3. Looks so delicious! I can't wait to give it a try! :)

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