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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Flavors of Spring

Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Dip

The Flavors of Spring
by Victoria Challancin

Artichoke dips have been around for a long time, but this updated version lets the bright flavors of spring shine through.  Leeks, asparagus, peas, chives, mint--they all roll together into one dish that fairly shouts "Primavera!"  As soon as I saw this in the new Bon Appétit magazine, I knew I wanted to try it. 
The lemon zest gives it a clean tang that matches with the goat cheese perfectly.  The local asparagus get their chance to shine.  And the fresh herbs round out the picture.  Easy to prepare, pretty to look at, and delicious to eat--my kind of appetizer.

Ready for baking

Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Dip
(Adapted ver slightly from a Recipe from Bon Appétit, April 2012)
Original recipe from Houston's Restaurant in Atlanta

Cook's notes:  I cut the asparagus into 3/8-inch slices and the reserved tips I left in approximately 3-inch lengths.  I then cut the tips lengthwise in half.  I also accidentally forgot to save half of the goat cheese for putting on top of the dish before baking and just put all of it in the vegetable mixture, which worked fine.  It would probably be even prettier dotted with the goat cheese, however.  I chose to serve it with some rosemary-olive oil crackers, but crostini would be lovely as well--or another cracker of choice.

1 cup 3/8-inch pieces asparagus, stems only, tips reserved for garnish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated mild white cheddar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.  Drain; let cool.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Whisk in flour; gradually whisk in milk.  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 for garnish), artichoke hearts, peas, cives, mint, parsley, zest, and 2 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese.

Transfer mixture to a 4- or 5-cup baking dish or three smaller oval casserole dishes; arrange the asparagus tips on top and dot with remaining 2-ounces of goat cheese.  Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 15-20 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.
Recipes are meant to be shared, but please ask before using text or photos.  Thanks!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

This is the most appetising artichoke dip I've ever seen! It looks incredibly full of spring flavours :D

Ali said...

That dip looks delicious...I am definitely going to bookmark this recipe!

Ben said...

Oh yes, primavera is here and you capture it perfectly in this dish.

Eha said...

Since asparagus and artichokes are my two very favourite foods, can't wait to put this together! 'Tis autumn here but some asparagus already on the counter, so . . . And the photos are just SO beautiful!

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a lovely way to greet spring. This looks and sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Hotly Spiced said...

This looks incredible. I love the list of ingredients. There really must be amazing flavour in this dip. I do love the greeness of it - very primevera! xx said...

An oldie but goodie...

Mark said...

Looks great, Victoria! I'm jealous of all the fresh veggies you are cooking with in Mexico. Other than some locally grown veggies like winged beans and kangkong, the veggies we get at the market here in Penang are either produced at giant commercial farms in the highlands of Malaysia, or imported from China or Thailand. You don't want to see the tomatoes we have to work with...

Nagi@RecipeTinEats said...

Such an appetizing dip! This looks so delicious! What an amazing artichoke dip!