Monday, 26 May 2014

Olive & Anchovy Bites

Okay, I know, I know, these sound completely rank. Anchovies always make me think of the smell and it honestly makes me gag (to the point I often still get my dad to add them to this recipe.) Having said that, once they're in the dough I promise they don't smell, and once they're cooked they have a subtle salty flavour as opposed to a strong fishy one. This is a tapas recipe (smart, the salty taste makes you drink more) from Spain, and it's honestly one of the simplest things you can make. The original recipe is from "The Complete Book of Tapas and Spanish Cooking" and mine strays a little, but not that noticeably, from the recipe I first used.

The ingredients are pretty easy to remember and weigh out, you need 115g each of plain flour, diced chilled butter and a strong cheddar cheese. The book suggests using Manchego, a strong tasting, hard white cheese from Spain, but honestly it's quite expensive and not always that easy to find and when it's cooked into the bites the difference in flavour is negligible, so I'd stay stick to a mature white cheddar for convenience. You also need 50g of anchovies, although I tend to use a whole little tin, and 50g of pitted black olives, which can be chopped but definitely don't need to be. Weighing the ingredients out is literally the hardest part of this recipe. Now, chuck them all in a food processor, switch it on and let it process until it forms a dough, scrape out onto cling film, roll into a ball and chuck in the fridge for about twenty minutes to firm up. It's worth noting at this point that if you don't want to bake it right now, the dough freezes really well. You can get tons for one batch as well, so you can even bake some and freeze some for a later occasion.

When it's chilled take the dough out, roll it thinly out on a floured surface and cut it. I use cookie cutters to make pretty flower shaped bites, but you can easily just cut it into long thin strips and then cut again on diagonals to make triangle shapes. About a third of a batch of this dough will cover my entire baking tray, I tend to freeze the rest, but obviously you can bake three batches one after the other or even fit more on dependent on the shape of your bites and the size of your baking tray.

Bake for around 10 minutes on gas mark 6 or until golden brown. Take out, chuck on a cooling rack, and enjoy with a cold drink in the sunshine (okay, wishful thinking!)

What are your favourite tapas recipes? Will you be trying these olive and anchovy bites?

S xo.
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