I should have planned an old-timey supper from The Book instead of doing them all separately. There are some great retro recipes in here, and as some of you may have guessed I’m a sucker for dishes that recall church suppers of a bygone era. Here pimento stuffed olives are wrapped in a buttery extra old cheddar dough, and baked. I love imagining the genesis of this cocktail party nibbler. Did someone think that olives weren’t rich and salty enough on their own? Maybe someone ran out of cocktail weenies and made olives in a blanket instead? Maybe a guest spilled the dregs of her martini into the cheese biscuit dough? or perhaps it was part of a wrapping perfectly good foods in dough craze that swept the nation? The world may never know.
The dough was absolutely delicious, it came together easily, and didn’t require any special shopping. All it requires is good sharp cheddar, flour, butter, and the secret ingredient: cayenne. The cayenne sets the richness of the cheese off, and makes the whole crust sparkle. The dough bakes up perfectly, it gets wonderfully crisp on the outside, and the inside is rich and chewy.
My only issue with the dish was the pimentos. I can’t say I love them. I’m a big fan of olives, but I tend to stick to black ones (Kalamata, nicoise, or the Moroccan salt-cured wrinkly ones). Pitted and stuffed cocktail olives have never held much appeal for me. Neither do the sliced olives you find in low end of the spectrum pizza joints and hot-dog stands. I don’t know if it’s the nature of pimentos I don’t like, or a quality issue. Canned and jarred pitted olives tend to be of pretty pathetic quality and flavour compared to whole olives from the olive bar. I don’t know of anyone who produces high end pimento stuffed olives, but with the cocktail renaissance we’re living though someone must have tried to reinvent the martini olive. In any case, I used pretty run-of-the-mill olives, and they tasted pretty run-of-the-mill when I bit into them.
If you’re the sort of person who will happily pick away at a bowl of pimento stuffed olives, then they will be vastly improved by baking them in this cheesy dough. I can think of half a dozen other things I would have preferred to swaddle in this heavenly cheese dough though.