Sour Cream And Fennel Crackers With Anchovies

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Writer and journalist Rebecca Seal travels where the food is excellent and sticks around long enough to tell the story right. A follow-up to her previous cookbook, on the cuisine of Istanbul (written with photographer husband Steven Joyce), The Islands of Greece takes you on a boat to a great meal. These crackers are...well, they're crack. 

I tried a dish similar to this at a rooftop restaurant called Herb's Garden, in Heraklion, Crete, where they make crackers from xinohondros, a tangy mixture of wheat and soured milk. This version uses sour cream rather than xinohondros or equally hard-to-find sour milk and wheat trahanas. Raw fennel and anchovies are delicious on top. Rather than fennel seed, you can use black pepper, dried Greek oregano, chili flakes, grated hard cheese or herbs such as chives in the crackers.

Reprinted with permission from The Island of Greece

Sour Cream And Fennel Crackers With Anchovies
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large crackers
  • A little vegetable oil
  • Scant 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaped tablespoon sour cream
  • Scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 18 marinated anchovies
  • pink peppercorns
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Mix all the cracker ingredients together with 1-2 tablespoons of water, kneading with your hands until it makes a firm dough (or put all the ingredients in the food processor fitted with a dough blade and mix to a firm dough). Stop as soon as the dough comes together.
  2. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough until just under ¼ in. thick. I prefer to cut the dough into rough rectangles with a knife for a more rustic look, but you could also use a cookie cutter. Prick each cracker with a fork a couple of times. Transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheet.  
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Check after 12 minutes, to ensure they are not browning too fast. If they are browning unevenly, turn the tray around. Remove from the oven and cool.
  4. Serve topped with shaved fennel, 2-3 anchovies and a few pink peppercorns (if using). Serve immediately.
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