These are Rosemary Spears and they make a wonderful party attraction and always evoke endless admiration in the seeing and the eating! Essentially, we use rosemary sprigs as toothpicks and spear some cheese, olives, marinated tomatoes, basil leaves, the permutation is endless. Take a look at what I’ve used below and use your imagination too!
If you find the rosemary sprigs too fiddly, you can always swap them with toothpicks. I generally go with 2 – 3 items per sprig but again, do what you please, depending on the size of your ingredients.
However, do think about the flavours as well as looks when you are deciding on what to go for: complementary, most certainly but contrast is just as important. My favourite combination and these complement and contrast, are creamy cheese and spicy and tangy jalapeños in vinegar – unbeatable!
The cheese. Any firm or semi firm cheese that you like will do, whether it’s cheddar, mozzarella, feta, paneer, as long as they are cubed or in small enough pieces as in the pictures. Marinated cheese makes a great choice, recipe here. I also love boursin for this, mini boursin of course.
The olives. Marinated is best, recipe here but good shop bought is fine.
Tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes and marinated sundried tomatoes work wonders follow the recipe for the cheese and olives here or good shop bought.
Something tangy. Always adds so much to the flavour profile, the pickled jalapeños as mentioned and boquerones or marinated anchovies are superb too. Homemade or shop bought.
Vegetarians – easily done, just lose the protein and even the cheese if you’re vegan.
I am not giving you specific amounts here, but as a rough guide, 5 – 6 “sticks” per diner is a good start.
- rosemary sprigs
- marinated cheese cubes
- marinated sun dried tomatoes, cut to match the cheese in size, if large
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- jalapeños in vinegar
- marinated anchovies
- Each single rosemary twig ought to give you 2 mini spears, about 3 inches tall, give or take.
- Strip the leaves off the "spear" end, giving you about an inch of clear sprig where the cheese and stuff are going on. Snipping the end ever so slightly at an angle to sharpen it will make it easier to push through later.
- Get all your ingredients assembled, including some kitchen paper to wipe your hands with in between.
- All you do is spear each ingredient through the woody end of the rosemary, 2-3 of them, as mentioned.
Choose older rosemary twigs, new growth tends to be softer.