Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cheese and Crackers

If there's one certainty in the world of food, it's that fine cheese must not be served with mediocre crackers. It is a universal truth, and everyone knows it. Yet we serve artisan cheese with store-bought crackers all the time. It’s a shame. It’s a disgrace. It's an injustice against cheese. Why would we spend so much effort (and money—good cheese is expensive) on selecting the perfect cheese, only to debase it with crackers that taste suspiciously like the cardboard box they came in? Crackers ought not be an afterthought—they should be delicious in their own right. The crackers must be worthy of the cheese.

And these are.

Semolina Crackers
Printable Recipe

6 ounces semolina
6 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
6 ounces warm water
1 ½ ounces extra virgin olive oil

Combine the semolina, flour, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Add the water and ¾ ounce of the oil and mix until a rough dough forms. Transfer to a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cut the dough into quarters and form each portion into a ball. Wrap each portion separately in plastic wrap and let rest for about half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to an 11×14-inch, 1/32 to 1/16-inch thick rectangle. As you work, transfer the rectangles to parchment-lined baking trays. Lightly brush the rectangles with the remaining ¾ ounce oil and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer crackers to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Break into irregular pieces and enjoy with or without cheese.

Yields about 12 ounces. Crackers keep for about a week in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place.

For flavored crackers, mix 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, poppy seeds, nigella seeds, or fresh rosemary needles into the dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients.


Linda from NJ said...

These look really good Lucy! And easy enough to make ... I know what I'm getting at the store today when I go grocery shopping. Semolina! Great pictures too.

Irina said...

Wow! How simple and genius. I am making these for Friday night.

Anna said...

Made these today. Very delicious and so ridiculously easy to make.

Carmen, the Crazy Sombrero said...

I will be making these..yummy!!!

Anonymous said...

Can these be mixed (kneaded) with a stand mixer rather than by hand? They look delicious!!

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

If your stand mixer can handle stiff doughs, you can use it. Mixing time will likely decrease. Also, you can sheet the dough using a pasta machine.

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