Photograph by Joseph De Leo Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Walnuts, Cheese & Olives

Amuse-Bouche from Issue 2 – Fall / Winter 2013 – Traces

The most “trace-y” cheeses of them all, the entire blue family is the visual epitome of our theme. This gorgeous spread of pungent blue, sticky walnuts tossed with thyme, honey and salt, slivers of sweet pear, and citrusy, warmed olives is no ordinary cheese plate. More like a divine cornucopia that is as much a revelation for the eyes as it will be for the belly.

serves 8 as a nibble with blue cheese and pears

Honeyed Walnuts
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup mild honey, preferably Acacia

Warm Olives
  • 1 cup Seggiano roasted artichoke hearts
  • 2 strips lemon peel, yellow only
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 ½ cups Picholine or other green olives

  • 1

    Honeyed Walnuts: Toast walnuts in a 350°F oven until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes.

  • 2

    Immediately toss with thyme and salt. Cool completely then drizzle with honey. Serve with a hunk of blue cheese, sliced pears, crackers and warm olives.

  • 3

    Warm olives: Warm a few tablespoons of oil from jarred roasted artichoke hearts along with lemon peel and a couple of clusters from a sprig of rosemary. Stir in olives and artichokes. Warm everything through and serve. (If you can’t find the roasted artichokes, sear canned ones in fresh olive oil until golden then take some additional olive oil and warm everything through.)