Tag Archives: Parmesan

Parmesan Shortbread with Black Pepper, Fennel and Sea Salt

This is a cookie so unique that I think tasters are perplexed into thinking they are in love with it. Here is the experience …

First, the smell – Parmesan, nutty and warm. Second, you get the sea salt, crunchy and ripe with minerals. Then, the butter, as the shortbread begins to melt in your mouth. Next, your first bite breaks apart the fennel seeds, releasing a soft anise flavor. After swallowing, the black pepper blooms with heat down your throat.

I just love savory cookies. I’ve made blue-cheese shortbread crackers and had all sorts of cheese coins since living in The South, and these little darlings make me think I’m on to something.

So delicious, especially in the afternoon, with a nice cup of tea. I prefer Earl Gray.

Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Parmesan Shortbread with Black Pepper, Fennel Seed and Sea Salt


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed or pounded with mortar and pestle
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I used fleur de sel)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a medium bowl on low speed until smooth, 1–2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, pepper, and kosher salt. Reduce speed to medium and beat, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until light and fluffy, 4–5 minutes. Add flour and cheese. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat mixture just until dough comes together.
Wrap dough in plastic or parchment paper and shape into a long cube. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 5 days ahead. Keep chilled. 

Stir together fennel and sea salt. Set aside.

Arrange a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove plastic wrap from dough. Cut dough into cookies 1/4 inch thick.
Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush cookies generously with oil, then sprinkle with fennel salt.

Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until cookies are golden brown (flecks of cheese will be slightly darker), 20–24 minutes.

Let cool on sheets for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room tem-perature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Parmesan Fried Okra

Ever since I saw “The Help” with my book club, I’ve been craving fried things. Southern fried things – fried with cornmeal, spices, oil and reckless abandon.

Until I can find the perfect fried-chicken recipe, I will scratch my fried itch with other tasties. Like the organic okra I am swimming in, thanks to Shore Farm Organics.

A Twitter friend, Lisa, actually tweeted me this recipe when I asked the universe to send me good okra recipes. Her Parmesan-fried okra is a great twist on the classic cornmeal method. The okra pods are lightly fried, so aren’t dripping in fat, but still lose that snotty stickiness they are known for (what is that?).

Thanks for the recipe, Lisa! I added my own touches…

Parmesan Fried Okra


  • 2 c. sliced fresh okra
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. cornmeal
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan, grated
  • Salt and smoked (or regular) paprika or other pepper
  • Canola oil

Lightly beat egg in one bowl and set aside. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl.

Toss sliced okra in egg.

Then, toss okra in dry ingredients. Heat a few swirls of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. You want enough oil to cover the pan, but not too deep. When hot, add the okra and fry until golden on each side, 3-4 min. per side. I sort of flipped mine like an omelet in places.

Once the okra is bright green and nicely fried, transfer to paper towels and finish with extra Parm cheese and a little salt.

I served mine with a basil aioli, lemon wedges and Texas Pete’s hot sauce.

Grant finished the plate in less than 15 min.

My mom said that her mother prepared fried okra with a little chopped tomato stirred in at the last minute, which adds a nice acidity. Brilliant! I will try that next time – just got more okra from the farmers’ market.

Enjoy your fried foods, friends! xoxo

Artichoke dip

My friend Lori made this dish at a party in Oregon a few years ago, and I’ve been making it ever since. Unlike most artichoke dips, it’s not overly oily and full of mayo. Instead, it uses Great Northern beans to give the dip body, but still has the artichokes, garlic, lemon and Parmesan cheese for flavor.

Originally from Cooking Light, it’s a nice alternative to high-fat dips. Great served with pita chips or anything else crunchy.

Artichoke Dip


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (14oz) cans artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained,
  • divided
  • 1 (15.5oz) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and
  • drained
  • 1 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Regggiano cheese,
  • divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor; add 1 can of artichokes and beans. Process until smooth. Add remaining can of artichokes, 3/4 cup of Parigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley, and garlic. Pulse 20 times or until artichokes are coarsely chopped.

Spoon mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and  remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Enjoy, friends! xoox