Bread and Olive Tapas

Bread and Olive Tapas
Delicious and satisfying tapas to make are simply chunks of bread with marinated olives.

The best bread to use for bread and olive tapas, in my humble opinion, is any fresh baguette - easily found at your local supermarket or favorite specialty bread store.

My favorite bread comes from Le Boulanger, here in the USA. They make wonderful fresh breads that come in lots of great flavors.

If you want to get fancy and have the time, read this delicious recipe for a wonderful olive bread that you can make yourself with a bread-making machine. Bread is a staple of many tapas recipes. Making bread for tapas can be done well in advance and will taste great when you serve it with the olive marinade in these bread and olive tapas - yummy!

A couple of facts about olives. They come in all shapes and sizes (kinda like my friends and me!) and the color is determined by the ripeness rather than the type (they turn black as they ripen).

Spain is the world's largest producer of olives and tends to export them in brine, which does little for the taste unless you are in love with salt. The best way to handle that is to soak the olives to get rid of the brine, and then keep them in an olive oil marinade (see the recipe for Marinated Olives below). They'll keep for up to 6 months in your refrigerator.

Another solution, particularly if you are short for time, is to go to your favorite deli that does marinated olives and pick up a jar or two. Having said that, it's hard to beat making your own marinade.

Marinated Olives
Soak the olives in water for about a half hour to get rid of the brine. Dry them on paper towels. The amount of marinade you make up depends on the quantity of olives. Here's a guide to help you figure that out.

What you'll need:
- 12 oz olives
- Zest of a lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves crushed garlic- Black pepper
- Olive oil

Mix up the above ingredients with a couple of spoonfuls of virgin olive oil, then add the olives and coat them. Next, leave them for an hour or two before transferring to a sterilized storage jar. Then top the olives with your favorite olive oil to cover all of them. Pop them in the refrigerator for at least a week, and serve at room temperature. This is one of those recipes you can definitely make ahead to serve at any time.

Some tips for the marinade:

  • Use as much or as little garlic as you like.
  • Use whatever herbs you want
  • Add honey or orange juice for variation
  • Add 4 fl oz Vermouth to make something a bit different
  • Don't add salt - the residue of the brine adds enough saltiness

    Serve your torn chunks of baquette or other bread on a pretty plate along with your marinated olives. Too delicious for words!



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