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Published September 20th, 2017
Get your olive on with this special salsa and Mediterranean BLT
Kalamata Olive Tapenade BLT Photos Susie Iventosch

It's almost time for the Eighth Annual Orinda Olive Festival, which is always a fun event complete with games, crafts, music and food. And, of course, local growers will provide plenty of olives and olive oils for tasting. There will be cooking demonstrations as well as tours of the historic Wagner Ranch olive groves.
I always love it when this festival rolls around, because it reminds me to conjure up a new olive dish. My family would eat an entire diet of olives, if it were possible. This year, since we also have so many gorgeous, ripe tomatoes, I decided to make an olive salsa and it turned out to be delicious and perfect served over grilled salmon. Also, with garden fresh tomatoes, the idea of an olive tapenade BLT sounded amazing and it was. It was simple and simply delicious, and a great twist on the traditional sandwich.
This year's Olive Festival will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 in the Nature Area at Wagner Ranch, 350 Camino Pablo in Orinda. Proceeds and tax-deductible donations benefit Friends of the Wagner Ranch outdoor environmental science and social studies programs.
For more information about the Orinda Olive Festival or the Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area, please visit www.fwrna.org.

Cooking Term of the Week
Nap or Nappe
This is a French term meaning to lightly coat food with a sauce so that the food is completely covered with a thin, but even layer of the sauce. It derives from the French verb "napper," which means to coat.

Olive Salsa and Mediterranean BLTs
Kalamata Olive Tapenade BLT Photos Susie Iventosch

Olive Salsa
(Yields about 2 cups of salsa)
1 cup large whole Spanish olives
with pimientos
1 cup whole pitted Kalamata olives
3 large basil leaves
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled,
seeded and chopped (can roast
yourself or buy already roasted)
1 yellow or red onion, chopped (can
either sauté in a little olive oil, or use
raw. I like my onions cooked.)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely
diced (more or less depending upon
heat tolerance)
2 large tomatoes, chopped into
small pieces
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place olives in a food processor and process just until chopped but not mushy. Add basil and process for just a couple of seconds longer. Place olive-basil mixture in a small mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to use. It's great with pita chips, but also delicious served on grilled salmon or on burgers.

Mediterranean BLTs
(Makes 4-6 sandwiches)
1 baguette, cut into sandwich sized pieces, sliced half
length-wise, and toasted
8-12 slices of pork or turkey bacon
2-3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, processed into a tapenade
3 Tbsp. basil leaves chiffonade (sliced into small strips)
5 ounces feta cheese, sliced as thinly as you can - it's a
crumbly cheese!
Toast bread. Spread tapenade on one side and sprinkle basil chiffonade on top. Place bacon and feta slices on other side of bread and cover with tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully close sandwich. Garnish plate with basil leaves and extra Kalamata olives.

Olive salsa on grilled salmon

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