Versatile olive paste

Our olive paste is made using well-ripened olives, first preserved in brine, then pitted and crushed. The addition of extra virgin olive oil, thyme and a pinch of salt enhances its flavour and adds a touch of freshness. This paste, spread on a slice of Pugliese bread, a classic Italian loaf with a beautifully crunchy crust, makes a delightful appetizer, but this is not its only use: olive paste is an extremely versatile ingredient, and features in many Mediterranean dishes, both fast and easy to make. Below are a couple of ideas we stole from the cuisine of the more southern regions of Italy.

Almonds, pistachios or walnuts are a delightful addition. In certain parts of Sicily, it is also customary to add some mint leaves, but only a few, because this herb can be overpowering if used in excess. In Calabria, it is customary to combine it with garlic and fennel seeds. It is also interesting with tuna in oil: the fish shouldn’t be drained too much, and a good idea is to add a few anchovies and capers, as well as a bit of garlic. Once open, the olive paste must be used within-3-4 days, either stored in the fridge or in a cool, dry place, covered with a layer of oil. You can also freeze it, but in this case do not add any oil: if you wish, you can add it once defrosted.

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