More Salt, Please

Not to repeat myself, but once again we are experiencing a heatwave (100 F.)  One of the nicer aspects of our house is that it has lovely floor-to-ceiling glass windows and skylights – everywhere.  Coming from the dark of Scandinavia this was a huge plus.  Lots of light and sunshine all the time, California-style.  Well, right now I feel as though I am living in a microwave.  And suddenly, shady rooms, cooler temperatures and even cloudy skiesseem very appealing.

When it gets this hot I crave salt.  In any form.  In fact, if there were a salt tablet lying about I would consider sucking it.  Foods I survive on in this heat are olives, sliced tomato with sea salt, more olives, the occasional potato chip and more olives.  I keep a bowl of sea salt out on the kitchen counter and every time I pass the bowl I grab a flake or two and pop them in my mouth.   My favorite sea salt is Maldon, an English sea salt that has a wonderful mellow flavor and packs the right salty punch.

This olivada recipe I share with you is a long time favorite that I have made for many years.  You can try fiddling with the combination of olives to your taste*. I use three kinds, and have adapted them as we have moved from country to country and available ingredients have varied.  It is something that can be prepared and kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  After the fourth day (if there is any left) toss the left-overs with freshly cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and buffalo mozzarella for a delicious room-temperature pasta salad.


Makes about 3 cups

1 can or jar pitted green olives, drained
1 can or jar pitted black olives, drained
1 jar Provençal-style olives, pitted (these are the very black, wrinkled olives, often tossed with herbes de provence.)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted golden brown
2-3 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.
(Try not to over-mix or the olivada will be too mushy.)
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate at least one hour.
Serve with sliced baguette or crostini.
Olivada will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

*As you experiment with different olives, adjust for a mixture of mild, sharp, bitter and salt to give an overall balanced flavor to the olivada.