I have a sad but true addiction to those sorry little grocery store black olives that come in a can. I don’t know when it began and I am sure it is only because they are salty… but I love them. I think the truth with olives (like so many other things) is that you get what you pay for. Our local markets have “olive bars” and despite the olives being of different varieties they end up all tasting quite similar. If we had a better olive selection nearby I would have used them for this recipe. Instead I headed to the olive bar (which, at least, is better than the Olive Garden…)
Olivada. What a great name. I had not heard it before but came across it in a cooking magazine and looked it up. I just always knew it as olive tapenade. I remember the first time I had it at a restaurant on the campus of my beloved graduate school, Smith College. The restaurant was called Green Street Cafe… and while I know not everyone liked the place, I loved it. Before dinner they would serve this warm bread and lovely olive tapenade.
This recipe for the Olivada was so easy and is a great way to use up olives that are sitting in your fridge.
I began by coarsely chopping the olives- green and black.
Next I muddled a clove of garlic until it formed a puree of sorts. I did this with a mortar and pestle. To that I added thyme (which, remarkably, is still growing in our window boxes outside) and the zest of an orange.
The recipes I read said at this point to add the olives to the garlic mixture and add a teaspoon of salt. I did this but next time I would omit it. The olives are really salty enough and don’t need the extra. This mixture gets “pounded” in the same bowl.
When ready you add this mixture to a sauce pan and heat through. I added some of the orange juice from the orange I zested and a splash of olive oil.
It can be served with toast or put with any sort of grain. The garlic, thyme and orange really brightened up the flavor of the olives and made this a delicious lunchtime treat.