Ok, I know how it sounds…not good. All I can ask is that, as you think this concept through, you keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there right now eating horrible little yellow fish crackers. These are better. They are probably the original fish cracker; and they actually contain fish!
I dredged this recipe up because we are in the middle of a binge on soups and these little treats are a perfect accompaniment to the vaguely Mediterranean soup that I have slotted for this evening. Although they may sound like a strange concept, these beauties are a sharp-flavored, simply wonderful companion to a wide range of soups and are generally a welcome addition to most table settings as a simple side dish.
These crackers actually don’t really taste very fishy. They have a ton of butter in them and I think that this washes out a lot of the fishiness that a lot of people would usually associate with anchovies. You just get the sharp salty flavor of the anchovies as an accent to the Parmesan cheese, and a little richness from the olives. Vary the spices to suit, but I like a pile of crushed black pepper accented with some cayenne. Try to make sure you use grated Parm rather than the sawdust stuff in the tube and chop both the olives and fish up pretty well before you blend them with the flour. It works better with an even distribution of bait chunks throughout the dough.
If you have a food processor, a rolling pin, and a baking sheet, this recipe is a snap. Just grind the stuff up to form a coarse dough ball, chill it down for about 30 minutes, and roll it flat. After that, all that remains is cutting somewhat triangular shapes and briefly baking them on a baking sheet. Baking time will vary wildly depending on oven setup, so just bake until the corners turn a nice golden brown. Trust me, you should not be able to fuck this up.
Once baked, cool your lovelies on a wire rack and bag up the ones that you are not going to use immediately. They will keep a very long time; weeks in the refrigerator and months in the freezer. That’s right, you can resurrect them down the road for a tasty soup-based lunch. No effort or forethought required. Every time I cook these, I ask myself, “Self, why do you not do this more often?”. The fact is that the simplicity of this recipe kicks it further down the memory hole than I should allow it go. These crackers really are a great addition to the table for a lot of meals and I should make more of an effort to have them on hand.
Accept the anchovy challenge and make a batch for yourself and bake a batch up…this week! As always, let me know what you think and what you served them with. Cheers. Off to cook the soup now.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup chilled butter, cut into chunks
- ½ cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
- 2 oz. canned anchovies, drained
- ¾ tsp. cayenne
- ¾ tsp. black pepper, crushed
- kosher salt to top
- Place flour, cheese, and butter into a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add cayenne and black pepper and blend until combined. Add anchovies and black olives and process until mixture forms a dough. Turn out onto a counter and lightly knead for about a minute. Form into a ball and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to about ⅛ inch thickness using a rolling pin. Cut into 2 to 3 inch strips using a rotary cutter and then cut crosswise into equal-sized triangles. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in preheated over for 10 to 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on wire rack.