Hot Cheese Olives
Reprinted from THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK by Amanda Hesser. Compilation copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company and Amanda Hesser. Recipes and reprinted text copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
- Servings: Makes 50 olives.
From The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser, she writes this note to introduce this recipe by Julia Reed:
A friend of mine once complained to me, “If I see one more Julia Reed recipe with mayonnaise or cheese, I’m going to stop buying the paper.” This is a common form of threat: if you substitute Meyer lemons and crème fraîche for the mayonnaise and cheese, I’m sure the same protest has been lodged with colleagues about my work. Writers fall into ruts, and readers get tired of writers. Now that I’ve cooked many of Reed’s recipes, though, I couldn’t disagree more with my friend. Reed, who was a columnist for the Sunday Magazine, and is a staff writer for Vogue, hails from the South and has done more to revive Southern foods at the paper than anyone since Craig Claiborne (he was from Mississippi; she’s from Louisiana). It just so happens that many foods from the South contain cheese and mayonnaise (and even the occasional Ritz cracker). What I like about Reed’s recipes is what I like about any great food writer’s recipes: they take you on a journey with memorable detours and eye-opening asides until you reach something delicious. These olives, which are swaddled in a thin, spicy dough, are dangerously addictive.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water
- 50 small pimento-stuffed cocktail olives, drained and patted dry
- Beat the butter until creamy in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the cheese and mix well. Stir in the flour, salt, cayenne, and Worcestershire until smooth. Add the beaten egg and mix just until incorporated. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Flatten out a piece of dough about the size of a hazelnut into a thin round. Place an olive on top and shape the dough around the olive, pinching to repair any breaks and rolling it between your palms to smooth the seams. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and olives.
- Bake until the dough sets, about 15 minutes.
- Serve hot.
COOKING NOTES [from Amanda Hesser]
Grate your own cheddar cheese. Don’t buy the preshredded nonsense.
To make these for a party, you can roll the olives in the dough, place them on the baking sheet covered, and refrigerate for up to a day. Then pop them in the oven just before your guests start arriving.