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Tomato-Thyme Shortbreads with Olive Gremolata

While shortbread is most often served as a sweet, this clever version transforms it into a savory biscuit that's richly flavored with tomato paste, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh thyme. While they're fantastic with the olive gremolata in this recipe, they're also delicious on their own.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes 32

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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the Shortbreads In a food processor, pulse the flour, tomato paste, sugar, cheese, thyme, salt, cayenne and black pepper until the tomato paste is evenly distributed. Add the butter and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into an 8-inch log, 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, Make the Gremolata In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, Make the Gremolata Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the shortbread log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the shortbreads in the upper third and center of the oven for about 18 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the shortbreads to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with the olive gremolata.

Make Ahead

The shortbread-dough log can be frozen for up to 2 weeks; thaw slightly before slicing. The baked shortbreads can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. The gremolata can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Contributed By Photo © Paul Costello Published April 2014

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