This black olive caviar recipe from Tuscany comes from Paola Gavin’s Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking. Black olive caviar is often nicknamed ‘poor man’s caviar’. It consists of a mixture of pureed black olives, artichoke bottoms, capers and chilli, served on crostini or slices of toast. Sometimes half a small courgette is substituted for the artichoke bottom.
Although Poala’s original poor man’s caviar recipe lacks herbs it typifies the simplicity of Mediterranean cooking (one of our favourite cuisines). See the Olive Flavour Pals below for suggestions for adding herbs, spices and other flavourings.
Side note: Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page co-authors of Culinary Artistry credit Jean-Georges Vongerichten (chef-owner of The Lipstick Café in New York) with the term ‘flavour pals’. The ‘flavour pals’ is simply other ‘seasonings’ that marry well with the key ingredient in a recipe.
Olive Flavour Pals
Olives have such a strong flavour that they can easily overwhelm other ingredients. Having said that, garlic and lemon (juice and zest) with olives is a match made in heaven. Other olive flavour pals are: almonds, anchovies, basil, capers, orange (zest and juice), flat-leaf parsley (Italian parsley), pepper (black and white), salmon, thyme, tomatoes (regular and sun-dried), tuna, and vinegar (red wine, sherry).
Flapjacks with Poor Man's Caviar
- 250 g black olives pitted
- 1 Tbs capers
- ½ red or green chilli cored, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 cooked artichoke bottom
- 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 16 small flapjacks bite sized
- 4 slices of crostini or wholemeal bread alternative to flapjacks
- Place the olives, capers, chilli, artichoke bottom and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a blender or food processor and process to a smooth puree, adding a little more olive oil if necessary.
- If using flapjacks to serve, prepare the flapjacks, toast in a toaster and brush lightly with the remaining olive oil.
- If using bread or crostini, remove the crusts of the bread and cut into quarters. Brush lightly with the remaining olive oil and toast in a preheated oven until golden.
- Spread the ‘poor man’s caviar’ over the flapjacks or crostini and serve.
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