This crowd-pleasing appetizer pairs well with white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or lighter reds like a Pinot Noir. Serve with crisp slices of cucumber, jicama or zucchini as an alternative to bread or crackers.
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chopped canned artichoke hearts
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 6-ounce can lump crab meat, drained
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 8-ounce package Neufchâtel or cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 large pinches smoked paprika
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Heat oven to 375°F. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, then add the asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes until asparagus is just tender. Remove from the skillet and place in a small, oiled baking dish. Stir in the crabmeat, and add salt and pepper.
In a food processor, blend together the eggs, Neufchâtel and milk until fully incorporated. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the crab and veggies, then top with Parmesan, smoked paprika and almonds. Bake uncovered on the middle rack in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot with toasted baguette slices or crackers.