Friday, August 1, 2014

Parmesan and Herb Crackers for Ina Friday

I have always been a fan of the ploughman’s lunch, which is a plate of cheese, bread, and various other simple goodies served at many British pubs. I enjoyed it on my first trip to the United Kingdom and have made my own version at home in the years that followed. It is a basic but delicious way to enjoy a meal.

Ever since The Picky Eater passed away, I've found myself eating ploughman’s style for supper. Often I meet a friend or family member for lunch at a restaurant, so this light supper is perfect for a summer evening. I try out different cheese from the lovely cheese counter at my favorite grocery store, and I add veggies and bread from the farmer’s market. If I don’t have a nice bread on hand, I’ll use crackers.

When I saw this cracker recipe while looking for an Ina Garten appetizer for Ina Friday, I knew it would be perfect for my new way of eating. I’d never made crackers before and had to stop myself from comparing the dough to cookies since, even though this recipe is reminiscent of shortbread cookies, the dough is a bit dryer and wants to crumble.

Ina grates her Parmesan cheese by putting small chunks into a food processor with a steel blade and whizzing until it is finely ground. For her, the 4 ounces necessary for this dish made about 1 cup. I grated the cheese by hand, and got about 2 1/4 cups out of my 4 ounces. So I strongly recommend you measure the cheese with a food scale instead of by cup measurements. Ina also uses only fresh thyme in the recipe, but I decided to add some rosemary as well. I used dried herbs since that is what I typically have on hand.

These crackers are delicious served by themselves. They would make a great snack to share with friends enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of tea. The crackers also taste wonderful with veggies and cheese for a simple meal. (Olives would go well with them, too.)

Parmesan and Herb Crackers

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces grated Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried ground rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the softened butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Turn the mixer to low, and then add the cheese, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine. Keeping the mixer on low, add the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly. To check the consistency, stop the mixer, take a handful of the mix and squeeze. If it holds together without being too crumbly, great! If not, add a teaspoon of water and try again.

Pour the dough onto the counter and form into a 9-inch log. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days. (The log may also be frozen for up to 6 months to use at a later date. Just thaw in the refrigerator before baking.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the log from the refrigerator and cut into 24 slices approximately 1/4-inch thick. Place the slices on the baking sheet. (They can be close together since the crackers will not spread out while baking.) Bake for 22 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through, until the crackers are lightly golden brown. Serve at room temperature and store in an air-tight container.  

Here are a few of my fellow bloggers who participate in Ina Friday. Some do not post every month, but their
blogs are worth checking out none the less!

Ansh @  Spice Roots    
Barbara @ Moveable Feasts  
Chaya @  Bizzy Bakes
Linda,  @ Tumbleweed Contessa
MaryThe Egg Farm
MinnieThe Lady 8 Home
PattiComfy Cuisine
Rocky Mountain WomanRocky Mountain Woman
Veronica @ My Catholic Kitchen  


  1. I have never mDe these. Yours look perfect. I may give these a try for a little gathering. Don't you love Ina Fridays?

    Linda @ Tumbleweed Contessa

  2. Mmmm! When SB and I lived in Germany, there were many afternoons when we would stop for a plate of olives, cheese, breads, wine and various vegetables and pickles ... ploughman's lunch German-style. Since we've moved back state-side, we still have this spread frequently ... usually when I have hit the skids in the kitchen and need a break, but still want good food. An excellent post, dearie!

  3. I love Ina, and I love this kind of husband and I can make a meal of these with cheese and a little wine.

  4. How did I miss these? I want to add these to my baked goods. They must be tasty.

  5. These look great Linda! I like a ploughman's lunch too :)

  6. We lived in Germany where it was a favorite, too. We sometimes had a simple version for breakfast in German hotels. Still love eating like this--particularly lovely for picnics. Happy Wednesday, Linda! (I'm a bit late catching up.)