This is one of my favorite staples to have on hand during the holidays, for entertaining and as an everyday condiment. Easy to prepare and versatile, Olivada is a simple blend of chopped olives, olive oil and ground pepper. Italian in name, Mediterranean in inspiration, there are many variations. Tapenade, the southern French version, includes anchovies. Other variations can include capers, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and sun dried tomatoes; there is no one way to make an Olivada. For me, I make a simple recipe with minimal ingredients. The key is the combination of olives. I use 3 types: a mild green, a mild black and a piquant Provençal. I find this gives a balanced result, not too salty or oily. The remaining ingredients are simple: garlic, toasted pinenuts and lots of freshly ground black pepper. The result is a delicious topping for crostini, a condiment for sandwiches or panini, and a garnish for lamb, fish and chicken. You can make a batch in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve for guests as an appetizer or for a family dinner. If there is still some left by the end of the week, toss the remainder with some freshly cooked pasta, buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil for an easy pasta dish.
Makes about 3 cups
6 oz. (170 grams) pitted green Spanish or California olives, drained
6 oz. (170 grams) pitted black Spanish or California olives, drained
6 oz. (170 grams) oil cured Provençal olives, pitted
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted golden brown
2 large or 3 medium garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place all of the ingredients in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well chopped. (Do not to over-process or the olivada will become a paste.)
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate covered at least one hour before serving.
Serve with sliced baguette or crostini.
Olivada will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Tip: Try experimenting with different olives to get a balance of salt and intensity. And do not add any salt; the olives are naturally salty.