It began with a baguette. Like all good plans gone awry, this baguette started out with the greatest of expectations. As it left the market in its crinkly paper bag, it had high hopes for sopping up that last bit of soup, or being dipped in a drizzling of peppery olive oil. But alas, it was forgotten, neglected, and turned stale.
Three days later, I noticed the baguette looking at me expectantly from the counter.
“Croutons?” I suggested
“Yawn. You can do better than that.”
“Okay, fine. Bread crumbs?”
“Really, Jennifer? You left me on the counter for the better part of a week. I narrowly escaped the trash.”
Alright, alright. Think, think, think…
“I’ve got it! We’ll slice off your crust into little sheets. We’ll toss you in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and sea salt, and bake until you’re toasted and golden around the edges.”
“And? What do you mean and?!?”
“And…what are people supposed to eat me with? Hmmmmm?”
This is ridiculous. I can’t believe I’m talking to a baguette.
“You owe me one.”
“I really can’t wait to eat you.”
“Fabulous. Now, what are you going to eat me with?”
“Caramelized Onion Dip?”
“That was so three weeks ago.”
“FINE! Tapenade! I will eat you with tapenade!!!”
“A mixed olive tapenade with toasted almonds, capers, and olive oil infused with lemon zest, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Will that work for you, YOUR CRUSTINESS?!?”
“I knew you could do it. And think, I could have been breadcrumbs.”
“Okay, baguette. Maybe you’re not so bad after-all.”
“You’re really going to miss me.”
“I’m your greatest inspiration. Your mentor, your confidante…”
“You’re being smug. I’m going to eat you now.”
Lemon-Garlic Infused Olive Tapenade
Serves 6-8 people
Traditionally, tapenade is made by pounding olives, anchovies, and capers into a paste with olive oil. Straying from tradition, this tapenade starts with finely chopped, not pounded olives and toasted almonds as a base. The olives are then tossed with olive oil that has been infused with lemon zest, garlic and herbs, and a few capers are tossed in for good measure. The uses are endless…serve as an appetizer over goat cheese, make a tapenade vinaigrette to serve with fish or chicken, or spread on a panini.
- One cup pitted green olives, such as picholine, manzanilla, or cerignola (or pit your own, see note)
- One cup pitted black olives, such as kalamata or nicoise
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped (see note)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and dried
- kosher salt to taste, if needed
Infuse the olive oil:
Put the olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and lemon zest in a small saucepan or frying pan, and warm the mixture over moderately low heat for about five minutes (the garlic should appear softened, but not golden. If it starts to bubble, turn down the heat and remove the pan from the stovetop for a few seconds). Set the mixture aside until cooled.
Pulse the green olives in a food processor until finely chopped and place in a medium bowl. Pulse the black olives in the food processor and add to the bowl.
Mix it all together:
Add the capers, almonds and olive oil mixture to the medium bowl, and stir well to combine. Season with kosher salt, if needed.
Rosemary Baguette Chips
- 2 slightly stale baguettes (fresh will work too)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
- 2 large cloves garlic, put through a press, or minced and smashed to a paste with a fork
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- a sprinkling of kosher salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Slice the crust off of the baguettes, then cut into chip-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss together the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and kosher salt. Transfer the crusts to 2 baking sheets, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crispy and golden around the edges.
- Whole olives usually have a deeper flavor and sturdier texture than pre-pitted ones. To pit your own (on a tip from Gluten-Free Girl), pound them with a rolling pin or meat mallet. The pit will come right out.
- To toast the almonds, heat a medium frying pan over medium high heat, and cook the almonds, tossing and stirring frequently, until they are aromatic, and golden in spots. Remove from the heat.