The dough for the crackers is just like that for refrigerator cookies. In fact, you can keep the dough wrapped and refrigerated and just slice and bake some crackers as you need them rather than making them all at once. Flour, grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon zest, finely chopped garlic, and salt were pulsed in a food processor. Anchovy paste is an optional ingredient, and I added it because I love the extra hit of umami from anchovies. So, the anchovy paste was added with some water, and the mixture was pulsed until the dough came together. The dough was divided in half, and each was kneaded and rolled into a long cylinder. The dough cylinders were wrapped in plastic and chilled for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, I made the tapenade which was started by sauteing finely chopped shallot and garlic, and fresh thyme. Then, chopped pitted Castelvetrano green olives, pitted Kalamata black olives, and finely chopped preserved lemon were added and warmed. The tapenade can be stored in the refrigerator and re-warmed before serving. The cracker dough cylinders were sliced into thin circles, the circles were topped with freshly ground black pepper, and then baked for about 15 minutes until browned and crunchy.
These peppery, parmesany, and slightly lemony crackers with the tapenade were great with drinks for a pre-dinner snack. And, I love that I don’t have to fret about what I could possibly make to go with dip ever again. I just have to decide which combo to try next.
Recipes reprinted with publisher’s permission from Crackers and Dips.
Everyone loves Caesar salad. So what if you could fit all the savory, salty flavor of that brilliant salad into a little crumbly cracker? Caesar lovers everywhere, rejoice: here is your cracker! These rich crackers are similar to the French pastry/cookies called sables [sah-BLAY], which means “sandy,” and as the name advertises, these crackers have a sandy, crumbly texture and they’re very rich, thanks to an ample dose of lemon olive oil. The dough can be made up to three days in advance, so they’re perfect for entertaining; just slice and bake when needed. Try them with a dab of Warm Olive Tapenade with Preserved Lemon, eat them by the handful, or use them as a garnish for Caesar salads as a sort of overgrown crouton. Whatever the application, they’re tres delicieux.
MAKES 50 TO 60 CRACKERS
2 cups/255 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup/115 g grated Parmesan cheese (firmly packed)
1/2 cup/120 ml lemon-infused olive oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely grated organic lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp chopped anchovies (about 6 small fillets) or 1 tbsp anchovy paste (optional)
1/4 cup/60 ml water
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor or large bowl, pulse or mix the flour, cheese, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, and salt until well combined and crumbly. Add the anchovies (if using) and water. Pulse or stir until the mixture becomes crumbly and begins to stick together, 15 pulses (do not overmix), stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Turn half of the dough out onto a 16-in-/40.5-cm-long piece of plastic wrap and squeeze and gently knead the dough to form it into an 8- to 9-in-/20- to 23-cm-long log that is about 1 1/4in/3.5 cm in diameter. Roll up the log in the plastic wrap and roll on the work surface under your palms to make a uniform cylinder. Repeat with the other half of the dough and another piece of plastic wrap. Chill the logs in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Unwrap the logs and use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to cut the logs crosswise into 1/8-in-/3-mmthick slices using a gentle sawing motion. If any crumbly bits break off while slicing, press them into the cracker and shape with your fingers into a round. Arrange the slices 1 in/2.5 cm apart on the baking sheets and sprinkle them with the pepper. If any of the crackers were sliced too thickly, use your fingers to press them out until they are of the same thickness as the others.
Bake until the crackers are golden brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate the pans once from top to bottom and from back to front while baking. Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack. Once cool, store the crackers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Warm Olive Tapenade with Preserved Lemon
Cold olives leave me cold. You can marinate them, stuff them, or purée them into a tapenade, but if they’re cool, I’m bored to tears. Warm olives are another matter. Applying just a little heat to olives transforms them into a fruity, sensuous pleasure. For this warm olive tapenade, I use a mix of meaty, bright green Castelvetrano olives (find them at olive bars or in jars at better markets) and brinier kalamata olives to achieve a balance of sweet, salty, fruity, and bitter flavors. This warm dip goes splendidly with the Caesar’s Sables, the Smoked Almond Thins, and the buttery Macadamia Nut and Coconut Flour Club Crackers. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, so it’s a great homemade holiday gift; consider making a double batch so you can share the warm olive love.
MAKES 1 1/2 CUPS/360 ML
1 cup/160 g pitted Castelvetrano green olives
1/2 cup/80 g pitted kalamata black olives
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon
In a food processor, pulse all the olives until they form a chunky paste the consistency of granola, or mound them on a cutting board and chop with a sharp chef’s knife.
In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme and saute until the shallot is tender and the garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 minute. Add the chopped olives and preserved lemon and cook, stirring frequently, until the olives are hot to the touch, 3 minutes. Transfer the tapenade to a serving bowl and serve immediately. (Once cool, the tapenade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm in a small saucepan or in the microwave before serving.)
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