Crushed Fennel Seed Crackers

Fennel is a spice, herbal in nature, that pairs beautifully with Pinot Noir. Include some delicious bursts of salt and a homemade fennel-salt cracker is perfect to bring out the fruit of the wine. This is another recipe we found in the food and wine pairing book "100 Perfect Pairings," by Jill Silverman Hough (2010). Makes about 40 crackers.

Ingredients: 

2 tbsp whole fennel seeds

1 c all-purpose flour, and more for work surface

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1 ¾ tsp coarse kosher salt

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp Foursight Pinot Noir

¾ tsp coarse fleur de sel, other coarse finishing salts, or coarse kosher salt

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Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F

Step 2: Lightly crush the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle. Or, lightly crush them in a small bowl with the end of a wooden spoon. Set aside. 

Step 3: Combine flours and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Add the ½ c of water and the olive oil, using your fingers or a spoon until it becomes a soft and crumbly ball. Press the dough together and gather up extra flour.

Step 4: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide into thirds. Cover two of the three parts with plastic wrap. Pat the uncovered dough into a square and roll into a rectangle about 1/16-inch-thick by 8 inches wide by 14 inches long. Sprinkle additional flour under dough as needed.

Step 5: Lightly brush the dough with some wine using a pastry brush. Sprinkle on about 1/3 of the fennel and ¼ tsp of the fleur de sel. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-inch slices so that you have ~12 to 14 crackers (about 2 X 4-inch crackers). The edges do not need to be trimmed. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned, about 9 to 11 mins. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool. Complete this step for the other two batches of dough. Crackers can be made up to one week in advance if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Photo credit: Courtney DeGraff
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