By Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter’
We’re continuing gastronomic journey through the Mediterranean and enjoying more fabulous flavours of Italy this month at All The Best by indulging in a snack of delicate, fruity Taggiasca olives. These small olives thrive in the Italian region of Liguria along the Mediterranean coast from the valley of Albenga, in the province of Savona, to the east and to the borders of Monaco to the west. They ripen and are harvested late in the season which likely contributes to their rich, mellow flavour. You’ll find them in bulk or in jars, preserved in brine with herbs or in olive oil, both pitted and with pits.
Olio Extra Vergine Di Oliva Taggiasca produced by G. Crespi & Figli is a delicious single varietal oil produced from the olive with similar characteristics of flavour. It’s smooth, rich and fruity; quite similar to the oils of Provence produced just a bit further west along the coast. The delicate oil is perfect to use in preparing fish dishes, as a finishing oil for grilled vegetables, and of course, to include in the popular Liguria pesto made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic and cheese.
The olives are a perfect foil to serve as part of an antipasto plate with prosciutto, Parmigiano- Reggiano, and grilled artichokes. They’re wonderful in a delicate pasta sauce or tossed into a salad. The olive also makes a distinctively mellow and delicious olive tapenade.
Taggiasca Olive Tapenade
½ cup (125 ml) taggiasca olives
1/4 tsp (1 ml) minced garlic
1 tsp (5 ml) balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp (15-30 ml) taggiasca olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Using a food processor, purée olives with garlic, vinegar and enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Season to taste.
Grill ½-inch (1 cm) slices of rustic bread until nicely marked on both sides. Rub with a cut garlic clove and brush with extra virgin Taggiasca olive oil. Spread the warm toasts with Taggiasca Olive Tapenade, top with a slice of Mozzarella di bufula and garnish with slivered fresh basil. Enjoy while still warm.
P.S. If you have trouble finding Taggiasca olives or Olio Extra Vergine Di Oliva Taggiasca, click here to send me an email.
All the best,