Makes about 50
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
3 teaspoons minced fresh sage
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup fine cornmeal
1 teaspoon each poppy, sesame and flax seeds (optional)
Combine the butter, cheddar, sage, salt, and black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture comes together into a ball. Add the flour and cornmeal and continue pulsing until the mixture again gathers into a ball. Turn out onto a sheet of parchment paper and divide into two pieces. Sandwich one piece of dough between two sheets of parchment and roll to a thickness of ¼-inch (be mindful of the thickness; too thin, and the crackers will fry out when they bake). Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Stack the two sheets of rolled dough (still sandwiched between parchment) and transfer to the freezer. Freeze for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line two rimmed baking sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment. Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel the parchment off the top and bottom, then set the dough sheet on one piece of the parchment. With a 1 ½-inch round cutter, stamp out rounds of dough and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly. Gather the scraps and set aside. Repeat with the second sheet of dough.
In a small bowl whisk together the egg and 1 teaspoon of water until well combined. In a second small bowl, stir together the poppy, sesame, and flax seeds, if using. With a pastry brush, brush the top of each cracker with some of the egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, until golden brown. Let cool for a minute of the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Gather together the scraps from both sheets of dough into one ball, then sandwich with parchment and roll to a thickness of ¼-inch. Freeze for 1 hour, then repeat the cutting and baking as described above (or save for another day).
The dough can be made up to a month ahead; wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before rolling. Alternately, you can roll the dough, stamp out the crackers and freeze the unbaked crackers; they can be baked directly from the freezer.
Tinned Sardines with Mint-Parsley Salsa Verde
Makes about ¾ cup salsa verde
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup mint leaves
¼ cup capers
2 teaspoons lemons juice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 cans sardines (I like the Spanish brands, such as Ortiz)
Saltine crackers, for serving
In the bowl of a food processor combine the parsley, mint, capers, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt. Pulse until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until well combined. Transfer to a bowl. Serve alongside the sardines, accompanied by Saltines.
.2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar or 2 teaspoons maple syrup
Pinch kosher salt
10 Medjool dates, pitted
10 walnut halves, toasted
In a small bowl stir together the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar or syrup, and salt until combined. Cut a slit into one side of each date. Spoon a small amount of the cream cheese mixture into each date, then “seal” it closed with a walnut half. Transfer to a plate or wrap each individually in a square of aluminum foil. The dates can be made a few hours ahead and refrigerated, but are best served at room temperature.