Two words. Crowd. Pleaser. I recently had a party with a guest list that included a fair number of teenagers. I thought they’d like this. And they did; on the rare occasions when they could push their way through the wall of gnarling, gnashing adults that were wolfing the stuff down like there was no tomorrow!
Ironically I found the inspiration for this rich, indulgent dip in a magazine in a cardiologist’s office! I had to leave before I could copy it all down so I had to improvise, but the result is a winner. I don’t think your cardiologist would recommend it, but if you only have it on special occasions, like Super Bowl parties, it shouldn’t kill you. (My words. Not the cardiologist’s.)
(Serves 10 to 12)
12 ounces (1 ½ 8-ounce bars) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup lite mayonnaise
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
8 ounces pepperoni slices, quartered or coarsely chopped
2 large plum tomatoes
12 black olives, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Scrape mixture into a deep dish glass pie plate or medium sized baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with warm soft breadsticks, focaccia fingers, or sliced baguette.
Note: When I made this for the photograph, I was in a rush and opted for storebought canned breadstick dough. It’s precut and all you do is twist the dough strips and bake. (I added a sprinkling of kosher salt.) The breadsticks were surprisingly good. Who knew? You can find canned breadstick dough in the refrigerated case at the grocery store.
Another Note: A dear friend of mine keeps asking for a Super Bowl “wings” recipe. The truth is, I am just not a wings person. However I’ve done a little research and this Paula Deen recipe from Food Network magazine looks pretty good to me. Give it a try, Richard!
PAULA DEEN’S UNCLE BUBBA’S WINGS
(Makes 3 pounds wings)
For the Wings:
1 1/2 cups hot sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
3 pounds chicken wings
Peanut oil, for frying
For the Sauces:
1 stick salted butter, softened
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 cup sweet Asian chili sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Prepare the wings: Combine the hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, cayenne and garlic powder in a large bowl and mix well. Add the wings and toss. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep fryer or deep-sided pot until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Remove the wings from the marinade and drain off excess moisture. Carefully add the wings to the hot oil in batches (the oil may splatter) and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes.
Make the sauces: Whisk the butter and hot sauce in a bowl. Mix the chili sauce and soy sauce in another bowl. Serve with the wings.
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