When I first attempted making savory biscotti about a month ago, I used cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper. The end result was so delicious that I wanted to try the initial recipe that had piqued my curiosity. The recipe, from a 2006 issue of Gourmet magazine, is for Parmesan and Black Pepper Biscotti and has stellar reviews online.
Even Deb from Smitten Kitchen gave it a try years ago in mid-December and called the biscotti the perfect antidote to sugary holiday treats. (And yes, I am stealing her name for it because it’s totally true.)
So if you’re like me and the thought of one more chocolate truffle makes you cringe, consider whipping up a batch of these. They are not at all sweet — but they are rich with a hefty kick of spice and full of cheesy flavor. While you could eat them with coffee, these biscotti are better suited for Champagne and lush red wines. They’d be perfect as an hors d’oeuvre at a fancy soiree or paired with an aperitif at a dinner party.
Or, let’s be honest, eaten while standing alone in your kitchen at midnight. No shame here, people.
The dough is fairly similar to the first savory recipe I tried. There’s the usual suspects (flour, butter, eggs) plus a few additions — lots of peppercorn and grated Parmesan. I stayed true to the recipe, managing not to swap out a single ingredient, a somewhat shocking feat where I am concerned.
I even measured the cheese using a scale and cracked the peppercorn by hand (because I am crazy). You know, I once worked in a restaurant where the pantry cooks, which included me for a time, had to crack all of the pepper for the Caesar salads using a mortar and pestle. Caesar salads are, of course, a popular dish and grinding all of that pepper was hell on Earth, even if you’re getting paid for it.
There was also the constant fear that one whole peppercorn would remain uncracked, in which case the chef, a server or (worst case scenario) a customer’s tooth would find it. Thankfully I never witnessed option #3 happen because the consequences would have been dire. I heard enough cooks get ripped a new one in the dry storage room for lesser crimes to know that I wanted no part of that!
So even though I risked a little PTSD to hand crack the pepper for these, I did so because, well, I was too lazy to get out the spice grinder. Which makes no sense because in the long run that would have really simplified things…
Anyways, wow! Sorry that was a serious tangent…um, look at how pretty the pre-cooked logs look…
Before they go into the oven, brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and a bit more pepper.
So honest thoughts on these? The recipe says they hold well for two weeks, I’d say they are incomprehensibly better the day you make them. Even kept in an air-tight container, these got a weird crumbly texture after day three. The flavor was still great though and I continued to eat them sprinkled in soups or on salads for quite a while passed their shelf life. They were addictively spicy and thus very hard to say no to.
And it would be absolutely silly to resist these. Trust me. It’d be so much easier (and tastier) to pop open some bubbly, cut up a salami and get to snacking. What’s stopping you?