Really, these were more like Cheddar Pecan Cookies. Why? Because as per usual when I'm throwing a dinner party I'm in a screaming hurry, working at top speed, and when I spotted the directions to flatten each ball into a 1 1/2 inch disc I said Feh and threw them in the oven instead.
Oh but let's back up...why the dinner party and wherefore?
So you'll remember I'm in this fish co-op, right? Like a farm share thingy but with fish? I was in it over the summer (you may recall me complaining about icky fish guts) and decided that all that fish every week was too much so I split my half share with my friend Elizabeth for the fall. But still, every two weeks, we get A LOT OF FREAKIN FISH...so, survey says, time for a dinner party!
This past week it was a gigantic pollack. You don't find out what the fish is until about two hours before you go pick it up, but I've pretty much decided that the best way to handle most forms of fish is to dredge them in a batter of cormmeal + potato starch, hot hungarian paprika + salt, mixed with either beer or lime seltzer water and then deep fry it. So by the way when I say I'm working at top speed it means besides all these recipe type things I am chopping up a gigantic whole fish. Well, not chopping it up. That sounds so inelegant. I mean I am (as they say in the business) breaking it down. And I have a fish rack (complete with head) cuddled up next to the ice cream in the freezer, even now.
OK, cheddar pecan crackers. People who eat at my house on a regular basis (you know who you are) know that I rarely bother with apps, and very often not dessert either. It's like--booze, and then dinner. With more booze.
BUT. In my quest to get people to help me eat this fish I happened to be communicating with somebody from work who helps me out A LOT and I said, hey, why don't you come help us eat this fish and bring your girlfriend too?
And then I thought, shit. There was much to-do when I first came on to my job about me being a chef, and these folks are going to be expecting something more than fried fish and coleslaw. I mean, I guess I have a reputation to maintain!
So I made a little game plan, which was roasted pepitas (which I had in the freezer), cheddar pecan crackers, a veg dish which Elizabeth was going to bring, creamy coleslaw, fried fish, cherry tomatoes and lemon semolina cake with raspberries. That's do-able, right? In 2.5 hrs?
Anyway, this is where you came in. Me in a screaming hurry, throwing un-flattened cheddar pecan crackers into the oven.
So let's talk about the actual recipe here. Epicurious has it, and you can see that it's got a nice short ingredient list with nothing too weird. You beat the butter and cheddar together until they're smooth (hooray, btw, for cabot x-sharp shredded cheddar)--this placed considereable strain on my mixer and I had to fiddle around a lot with speed and so forth. Finally I threw the egg yolk in there to loosen it up and that helped. I blanched a little bit at the 1/2 tsp. of cayenne but what the hey--throw that in with salt, flour and chopped pecans and mix it all up. If I were doing this again I would definitely use my Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment.
Then they say "roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls" Hahahahahaha--how about a little mini-scoop with a release bar instead? Sounds about right for the chef on the autobahn of food prep. In a calmer moment I might chill the dough and try the rolling/flattening thing--the warm dough is super-sticky.
And, these were really really good, even in their cookie-not-cracker state! Taste--awesome--sharp and spicy, and full of pecan. Classic taste combo--perfect for a party. Keep it in mind for the holidays, folks! And stay tuned for Creamy Coleslaw and Lemon Semolina Cake with Raspberries.
Fran, I have not forgotten you! Busy composing a dirty limerick about cooking and blogging. Keep your eyes on the mailbox!
Jessica, send me your mailing address!!!