Cheesy Crab and Spinach Bread Boat
* 2 Italian breads loafs (12 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide)
* 2 10 oz packages fresh spinach, well rinsed, chopped and stems trimmed if necessary
* 4 TBSP unsalted butter
* 1 C chopped yellow onions
* 1 TBSP minced garlic
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
* 1/4 tsp cayenne
* 6 TBSP all-purpose flour
* 1 C milk
* 1 C heavy cream
* 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
* 1 C 1/2-inch cubes rindless Brie cheese (may substitute another soft, flavorful cheese, like Havarti, but you'll be okay with anything really)
* 1 C grated Monterey Jack cheese
* 1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* One 6 1/2 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
* 4 strips bacon, fried crisp, drained and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
* 8 oz fresh lump crab meat (pick out any pieces of shell)
1. Cut the bread loaf in half lengthwise.
2. Scoop out the inside of the bread bottom (reserve scooped out bread in zip lock bag for other recipes calling for bread crumbs), leaving a 1 inch shell from the bottom half of the bread. Do not scoop out the top of bread loaf.
3. Place on cookie sheet.
4. In a medium size pan boil water.
5. Once water is at a rapid boil add spinach and cook until wilted. Drain.
6. Squeeze out excess water from spinach and chop. (pressing with paper towels works)
7. On medium heat melt butter in a saucepan.
8. Cook onion in butter until translucent, stirring often.
9. Add salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic to onions.
10. Cook about 2 minutes.
11. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
12. Add cream and milk and cook until thick stirring constantly.
13. Add remaining ingredients and the spinach.
14. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
15. Place mixture in bread and replace the top of the bread.
16. Cover with aluminum foil.
17. Bake 25 minutes.
18. Unwrap and let cool until you can handle the bread.
19. Cut into slices and serve.
Don't let the ingredients list scare you. This is one sandwich that is well worth the effort it takes to put it together. Any sandwich that starts with a whole loaf of crusty bread should really be considered a main course. My feelings about cheese, spinach and crabmeat run very deep. Round this meal off with a jug of wine and Thou, and you'll successfully elevate this meal to a celebration!