Crab in a Coffin
- 1 oblong loaf firm bread or pumpernickel, about 9 by 5 by 3 inches
- 2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, well rinsed and stems trimmed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup (1/2-inch cubes) rindless Brie cheese
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 4 strips bacon, fried crisp, drained and chopped
- 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
- "Bones" (thin breadsticks) or crackers, for dipping
With a large serrated knife, carefully cut the top 1/2- to 3/4-inch from the top length of the bread to make a lid, and reserve. Hollow out the inside of the bread, leaving a 1/2 to 3/4-inch shell on the bottom and all sides to make a bowl in which to serve the dip. Discard the inner portion of the bread or reserve for another use.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze to remove all excess water and chop. Set aside.
In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream in a steady stream, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked spinach and lemon juice and stir to incorporate. Add the cubed and grated cheeses, artichoke hearts, and bacon, and stir well. Fold in the crabmeat and cook, stirring gently, until the mixture is warmed through and the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon the dip into the hollowed out bread "coffin" and top with the lid. Serve hot with breadsticks or chips for dipping.