Black olive paste rocks. It’s worth having a jar in the fridge at all times. It’s a great source of healthy fat, and it’s so versatile. Toss a generous spoonful through zucchini noodles. Mash it into the yolks of boiled eggs. Spread it thinly into the bellies of fresh sardines before frying. Or serve it with thinly sliced fresh vegetables for dipping. It’s a full flavoured salsa that adds character and a touch of complexity to an ordinary plate.
Black Olive Paste – Versatile, and Strong
Just want the recipe without the chitchat? Scroll down.
Olives. We have jars of them, and I reach into them often. Giant green olives, as big as your thumb, fleshy, with a hard stone. Tiny multi-coloured taggiasca, soft and pretty, with tooth-sized pips. Dark black nocellara, fat and round, a little wrinkled. I have to stop myself at the counter from buying more: there’s only so much room in the fridge, and the exotic varieties have prices to match.
For making black olive paste, therefore, I go cheap. I buy a huge jar of de-seeded black olives soaked in brine. That way I’m not spending hours removing the stones. Sure, you could make it using top quality olives if time and budget allows – you’ll certainly reap wonderful and particular results – but in our house, we save the posh ones for eating fresh. For throwing into the blender with herbs and oil, the cheaper ones do us fine.
Black olive paste is one of those thing where the quantities of added herbs doesn’t really matter. It depends on your taste. You’ll see recipes which add capers or anchovies, which use olive oil instead of extra virgin, or which use terrifying amounts of garlic, or a touch of chilli. My recipe, for Fodmap and immunity issues, is a little conservative. I dove in deep by adding a single clove of garlic to this batch. I love the intensity, but I have to say my digestive system is better off without it. What’s interesting is how the addition of extra virgin olive oil adds an unmistakeable piquant note. To my mind, chilli would be overkill. But the fresh herbs are a must.
For breakfast, we like this on a slice of toasted Three Seed Paleo Bread, alongside poached eggs and spinach. Toss a spoonful through cauliflower rice, as I did last night. Smear it over slivers of left over roast beef. And definitely try the suggestion above: Fresh Fried Sardines with Black Olive Paste – just a smidgen in their bellies, close them up, fry as usual. You can’t go wrong.
But best of all, Black Olive Paste is a great go-to fat snack. Have celery, carrot and fennel sticks ready for the dipping. It’s potent, so you won’t need much.
On the Side
Pesto alla Genovese – The classic taste of Italian summer – basil, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil and a touch of grated grana.
Basil, Mint and Lemon Pesto – A lovely, fresh take on the classic basil pesto.
Salsa Verde – Another super versatile sauce, made sensational with anchovy and capers.
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- 1½ cups pitted black olives
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 1 clove garlic (optional - avoid for Low Fodmap)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra
- Place all ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil into a food processor.
- With the motor running, add the ¼ cup of extra virgin oil in a fine stream until the olives and herbs have become a paste,
- Spoon the paste into jars, and cover with a film of extra virgin olive oil.
- Store in the fridge.