back in the saddle againAugust 22, 2010
So I’m back from vacation, took a little time to recover from *that*, and now I’m truly itching to get my paws back into the oven. We’ve also had an amazing abundance of fresh veggies and fruits from our CSA, so that provides an additional bushel of inspiration, to be sure. I admit that the first recipe back doesn’t follow the reader request guidelines, but sometimes mrslovey gets to bend the rules and move to the head of the line. I’m sure you understand.
For the last few summers, when the tomato bounty has been at its peak, mrslovey has made a delicious (if you like that kind of thing) creamless creamy tomato soup. It has a garden-fresh unadulterated tomato flavor, and it freezes beautifully. When I asked her to define, she just shrugged and said, “it tastes like summer.” (9/2/10 edit: recipe for the soup is here)
Needless to say, she needed something to go along with the soup, hopefully something that also freezes well, so that a grab-and-go lunch or dinner later in the year would be simple and not require additional effort. Knowing that she likes savory crispy/crunchy snacks, I decided to make cookies.
What? A savory shortbread is still technically a cookie! Parmesan cheese, toasted walnuts, and fresh rosemary combine to make these bite-sized pieces of delicious. Their crumbly texture melts on your tongue, and the earthiness of the walnuts is perfectly balanced by the richness of the butter. It is important to use freshly grated cheese, as the pre-grated is too dry and causes the dough to not want to stick together. Recipe makes about 90, see photo above for approximate size. You can easily cut it in half if you don’t want that many, but they’re fairly easy to make and they freeze well, so I just make a full batch and pull a few out when the craving hits. Mrslovey uses them almost like croutons for her soup, but you could also pass them as little nibbles at a party and impress the heck out of your friends and family.
Parmesan Shortbread Bites
8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
4 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
1 cup toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Use mixer to cream the butter, then add the cheese and mix well.
- Put walnuts and rosemary in the food processor, and pulse until nuts have a very fine texture. You can also chop by hand, but I like the consistency of the food processor, plus I can’t get such a fine texture with my sad knife skills.
- Add the chopped nuts along with the remaining ingredients to the butter/cheese, and mix all together. It might be a little crumbly, but working it with your hands for the last bit will help bring it together.
- Divide into four equal pieces, and roll each into a log 1-inch in diameter.
- Wrap each log in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Working with one log at a time, slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces and place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until edges are golden.
- Let cool on wire rack.