Cheddar-Olive Morsels


Sublime Smoke

Published by Harvard Common Press

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

These cheese-coated balls contain a party surprise for your guests, a concealed olive that delights with the first bite.

NotesTechnique: The morsels’ cooking temperature has less flexibility than that of most smoked dishes. If it goes lower than 225° F, the dough may slide off the olives before it cooks through.

Makes2 dozen

Cooking Methodsmoking


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party

Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, hors d'oeuvre

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentfood processor, smoker


Taste and Texturecheesy, garlicky, salty, savory, sharp, smoky, spiced, tangy, tart


  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 24 large green olives stuffed with pimientos, onions, or jalapeños, plus 1 teaspoon of brine from the jar
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (use a commercially smoked variety if you wish)
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 plump garlic doves, minced
  • Additional paprika


  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, paprika, and salt. Add the olive brine, cheese, butter, and garlic, and process until a thick dough forms.

  2. Wrap an olive in enough dough to thoroughly cover it, making a ball about 1 to 1¼ inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining olives and dough. Sprinkle the balls liberally with additional paprika. Set the olive balls in a shallow, smokeproof baking dish or on heavy-duty foil.

  3. Bring your smoker to its appropriate cooking temperature.

  4. Transfer the morsels to the smoker and cook until the pastry is golden brown and beginning to crisp, about 35 to 40 minutes at a temperature of 225° F to 250° F.

  5. Remove the morsels from the smoker and let them sit for 10 minutes. They will become crisper as they cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers don’t keep well, so eat up.


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