Field Notes

Chili Herb Shortbread

We love a make-ahead recipe that saves us time while still impressing our guests. Savory shortbread does both; it’s an elegant stand in for cheese and crackers but can be made ahead and frozen until your guests arrive.

This version combines the sweet flavor of sun-dried tomatoes with a bit of guajillo heat and richness by way of Parmigiano cheese.

Chili Herb Shortbread

Makes 10-12 shortbreads

  • 3 guajillo chilies, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 sun-dried tomato
  • Boiling water
  • ¼ cup chopped thyme
  • 1 ½ cups finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Sea salt

Place the chilies and tomato in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water, using a dish to keep the chilies submerged. Let soak for 10 minutes, then drain and transfer to a food processor.

Process until pureed well, then add the thyme, cheese, flour and butter and process until coarse, deeply orange meal forms.

Dump the dough out onto a cutting board and press into a ball. Flatten into a 1-inch thick disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (You can make the dough up to this point and freeze it up to 6 months in advance. Remove the dough from the freezer 30 minutes before using.)

Preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to 3/4 -inch thickness. Cut the dough into batons roughly ½-inch by 2 inches. Arrange the shortbread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the shortbreads smell nutty and are slightly flaky on the surface.

Serve immediately; the shortbreads will keep in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature for 3 days.