Manchego Olive Crackers with Creamy Radicchio Spread

By • December 8, 2011 • 22 Comments



Author Notes: This is inspired by a couple of radicchio salads I've had at "sister" restaurants Toro Bravo and Tasty N Sons in Portland. The both feature a creamy vinaigrette and green olives. The Toro Bravo version uses manchego and the Tasty N Sons version uses parmesan. I can't decide which I prefer so I used a bit of both, but feel free to use the Manchego in the spread as well if you don't want to buy extra cheese. The crackers are tasty in their own right, so feel free to just add them to a cracker and cheese tray. I think they'd also be fabulous topped with some creamy brie and a small slice of persimmon.hardlikearmour

Makes about 48 crackers

For the Crackers

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz shredded 4 to 6 month aged manchego cheese
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 to 15 castelvetrano olives
  • 1 teaspoon olive brine (or water if you don't have the brine)
  1. Combine butter, olive oil, and cheese in food processor. Pulse several times, then process until well combined.
  2. Whisk flour and baking powder together in a small bowl. Transfer to food processor. Pulse for 5 or 6 one second pulses, until mixture looks crumbly.
  3. Scatter olive pieces and drizzle olive brine over the mixture. Pulse together 3 to 4 times, until no large olive pieces remain. The mixture should still be a bit crumbly in appearance, but should stick together when pressed.
  4. Transfer the dough to a sheet of waxed paper that is about 18 inches long. Form the dough into a log about 13 to 14 inches long, so it's about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll up in the waxed paper. I like to form a slightly squared cylinder, but you can also leave it round.
  5. Freeze dough for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's firm but still malleable. (Or refrigerate for at least an hour.)
  6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking sheet. Heat oven to 350º F.
  7. Remove dough from waxed paper, and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Transfer slices to prepared baking sheet leaving at least 1/2-inch space between slices. (I was able to get the whole batch on one sheet, some did touch after baking but were easily separated.) Dock each cracker twice with a fork (like the dots on a domino).
  8. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until light golden brown and crisp. Rotate the pan 180º after 10 minutes to promote even baking. Transfer pan to cooling rack and allow crackers to cool on the pan. Once cool transfer to a sealable container. Can be made a day ahead.

Creamy Radicchio Spread & Assembly

  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 oz of parmesan or manchego, grated with a microplane
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded radicchio (see note below)
  • about a dozen Castelvetrano olives - pits removed and cut into slivers
  1. Combine cream cheese, parmesan/manchego, lemon zest, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whip with a hand mixer (or by hand with a wooden spoon) until creamy. Fold in the shredded radicchio by hand. (Can be made several hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate, but allow to come to room temperature before assembly.)
  2. NOTE: To shred the radicchio cut the head lengthwise into quarters, and remove the core. Cut one of the quarters lengthwise into thirds, then cut each third crosswise into thin strips. You will likely need 1 to 2 quarters, depending on the size of your raddichio. Soak the radicchio in ice cold water for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain and spin dry to temper it's bitterness.
  3. TO ASSEMBLE: Dollop about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cheese spread atop each cracker. Cap with a castelvetrano sliver. Serve on a pretty tray with wine, champagne, or the cocktail of your choice.
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8 months ago bonbonmarie

looks great! in the to-try list. Thanks!

Buddhacat

over 2 years ago SKK

Another great recipe, HLA! Thanks for inventing it and sharing it.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, and you're welcome, SKK!

Lorigoldsby

over 2 years ago lorigoldsby

Amazing!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Aw, shucks! Thanks, lori!

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over 2 years ago Sonali aka the Foodie Physician

These look delicious!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, Sonali! We ate an entire batch as "supper" last night.

3-bizcard

over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Masterful combination, love raddichio I think I need to have a cocktail party soon there are so many wonderful recipes.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, sdebrango! I seriously cannot take credit for the combination. Radicchio is weird - I can't stand it plain - way to bitter - but dressed with something creamy and tangy it becomes absolutely delicious.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

These look wonderful and the perfect accompaniment to a glass of bubbly!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, EmilyC! And cheers to a glass of bubbly to go with them.

Nog

over 2 years ago Niknud

I think the castelvetrano olives are pretty much my favorite kind. Love that you put them both in and on the cracker!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, Niknud! I tried them with a regular green olive (no pimento), but the crackers ended up on the salty side even with only 1/4th cup of olive pieces. The mellower flavor of the castelvetranos worked much better for me taste-wise, and they are a prettier olive color to boot!

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Nicely dona HLA! These look awesome!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, aargersi! I was pretty darn happy with the outcome and the photo.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

wow yum! Loving this combination of flavors, hla.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, mrsL! I can't really take credit for the flavor combo - I stole it directly from a couple of restaurants.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Gorgeous! Love all the flavors you have here. I think these will be on our menu at our holiday open house. I also love it when food ideas become amazing food!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, gingerroot! Let me know if you try them. I hope I'm invited to your open house ;-)

Img_1958

over 2 years ago gingerroot

Of course you are! Busy a week from Sunday? : )

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

over 2 years ago lapadia

I love this olive & cheese combo, mouthwatering. Great photo, too:)

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, lapadia! I was pleasantly surprised by just how yummy the cracker & cheese spread combo turned out. Love it when the idea in your brain works out better than you expect.