Despite it’s hauntingly ethereal sound, this song was stuck in my head all throughout the Thanksgiving Holiday as I chopped up copious amounts of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
The history and the lyrics of this ballad befuddle me. Riddles about making a shirt without stitches, and a repetitive, almost Gregorian chant that makes me feel like I am smoking herbs rather than singing about them. But it did get me thinking about the coexistence of music, art, and food.
And it got me wondering how I could combine all four herbs into something other than poultry seasoning.
Also, I just really wanted to make something I could call Scarborough Fare.
It was just too kitchy to pass up.
(Herby Garlicky Spicy Crackers)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
4 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs melted butter
3/4 cup water
Combine all of the dry ingredients, including the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add 3 Tbs of the olive oil, all of the butter, and all of the water. Stir the dough until it forms a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a floured counter top, and knead it a few times. If it is too dry, knead in a few sprinkles of water. Place the dough ball back in the bowl and sprinkle the top with the remaining Tbs of olive oil. Cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside for about a half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Take a quarter of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/8 – 1/16 of an inch thick. Cut the dough into whatever shape cracker you like using a cookie cutter or a knife.
Use small cut outs to create imprints on the tops, or the tines of a fork to prick the tops and avoid rising. For even extra flavor, top them with some melted butter and sea salt flakes.
Bake the crackers on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper for about 10-12 minutes. Let the edges brown if you want them to be extra crispy. Roll, cut, and bake the remaining dough. You can re-roll the dough scraps after kneading them together and letting them rest for a few minutes. Let the crackers cool completely before serving or packaging.
Even though the idea of making your own crackers may sound a little too Martha for most, these are super easy to whip up and also make really cute holiday gifts.
The combination of fresh green herbs and the red pepper flakes add some festive looking flecks of color. And while most crackers are essentially a vehicle for transporting cheese from the plate to your mouth, these crackers have an insane amount of flavor on their own.
So you don’t have to get super fancy with what cheese you pair them with. Even a little plain cream cheese tastes amazing with them and balances out the heat from the crushed red pepper.
So while everyone around is baking up a royal-icing-clouded cookie storm, you can be baking up some herby-garlicky-spicy crackers that pair up perfectly with some wine and cheese.
With which, let’s be honest, is where one finds the true meaning of Christmas.