I almost forgot that this was never meant to be an exclusively beer blog, but then, that’s all I’ve had time for lately. Here’s something I tried preparing for my dad and brother’s joint birthday bash when this year began. It’s inspired by Cyma’s version.
1 8oz. box Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Edam cheese / Quezo de Bola (For a saltier, cheaper version of Parmegiano Reggiano)
3 cloves garlic, minced (I probably used more, but then, I like garlic overkill)
1 400g can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven (I used my turbo broiler; it also gave a nice brown “crust” to the mozzarella) to 175*C.
Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Edam or Parmegiano and garlic well in a mixing bowl. Fold in the artichoke hearts and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. This will make around three ramekins full, each one good for around four people. I cooked a couple first then refrigerated the last batch to save for the next day. If you’re feeding an entire clan buffet style, use a greased baking tray. I like the ramekins for presentation, though. If I had a shallower dish with a larger surface area, that may have worked better.
Top it all off with the mozzarella. Pop it into your oven or turbo broiler for around twenty minutes. When it’s nicely browned up top, it’s good to go. I served it with pita triangles and whole grain rye crackers.
To address the elephant in the room, I’d suggest pairing this with a medium-bodied porter or a dry stout (but definitely not Russian Imperial). My first thought was Ballast Point’s Black Marlin Porter (or even Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout), which isn’t too sweet. It will temper the richness of the cheese, and balance the garlic if you like to go overboard like I did. I figure the dip would also go well with a Dunkelweizen like Paulaner’s. Do you have any suggestions? Drop a comment and tell me what you think would work?
This is supposed to be an appetizer, but I’d gladly take a super-sized serving of this and eat it throughout the day. That’s why the Black Marlin comes in bombers.