Saturday, December 24, 2011

1970's Retrospective - Olive Cheese Nuggets

I think this is one of the most lasting recipes to ever come out of the 70's.  All three of us boys make them, and we never seem to make enough to satiate the holiday crowd.  For these have become my family's New Year celebratory icon.

I have always found it somewhat amusing that when someone is exposed to them for the first time, they always express incredulity that these tiny nuggets of heaven could be good. Then, with something that could only be construed as fear, or panic, they pop one into their mouth, and then another, and then another...

Before you know it, they are hiding in the corner with the plate in their lap, shoveling these little savory bits of cheesy goodness into their mouths and screaming for more...   LOL 

This makes a lot if you are using the small Manzanilla olives, not quite as many if you use the Queen olives. While the Queens are significantly larger, they come stuffed with Garlic or Almonds or Jalapenos or even Anchovies. So take your pick, it's up to you, get creative... Find your favorite combination.

I particularly liked the Onion/Vermouth soaked olives; but was terribly UNimpressed by the Feta stuffed as well as the Blue Cheese stuffed... They conflicted too much with the Cheddar Cheese.

Olive Cheddar Nuggets

4 oz (113g) (1 cup) shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, room temperature
2 oz (56g) (1/4 cup) Unsalted Butter (Softened)
3.5 oz (100g) (3/4 cup) AP Flour
1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
A pinch of Cayenne pepper
34-ish Pimento stuffed Manzanilla Olives or 18-20 Queen Olives (stuffed as you like)

With an electric mixer, blend softened Butter with shredded Cheese until fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk Flour with Salt, Paprika and Cayenne.

Slowly add the Flour mixture to the Butter/Cheese mixture......

Stirring until a soft dough is formed.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour

OK, this is the hard part.....
Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C) degrees.
Dry your olives well, or you will have a hard time doing this; the dough will not stick to the olive at all.  They will soak up the excess brine and become gooey.

Take a small amount of dough (about a 1 1/2 tsp) and wrap it around the olive, to completely encase it.

Set the nuggets on a parchment lines baking sheet.

At this point, they may be covered in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, however, they must be brought to room temperature before baking (1 hour on the counter)

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes. (usually 12 minutes with Manzanilla Olives and 15 minutes for Queens)

Serve to your incredulous guests, but watch carefully to make sure no one snitches your serving tray.


Martha said...

My mouth is watering, just looking at these!! One question, do you serve them warm, or let them cool? Or doesn't it matter?

Shane T. Wingerd said...

I usually try to serve them warm, but in all honesty, I think they are still delicious when they are cold. :)

Patti T. said...

I have always wanted to make these, if you think they are good, I know I should make these!! Hubby and sons all love olives so I know they will go quickly.

Unknown said...

These are totally delicious. I grew up making and eating these little gems. And believe me you can never make enough.