Do you remember the very first episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted describes the olive theory to Robin on their first date? You see, Marshall hates olives; Lily loves them, which makes them a perfect couple, perfect balance. One person always gets the olives for themselves. My parents operate on the olive theory: Dad hates them, Mom loves them (as do I!) so we always got the olives when we went out to eat. My relationship, we both love olives, so it’s a battle, which I sometimes lose if I’m not quick enough!
So, what does the olive theory and HIMYM have to do with olive tapenade pizza? Absolutely nothing! It’s just the first thing I thought of when I read about the scholarship opportunity Lindsay Olives is giving to one lucky person to attend Eat Write Retreat, a really awesome, really intense food bloggers weekend away in Washington, D.C. in May.
Lindsay Olives asked us to create a new recipe featuring their California Black Ripe Olives as a main ingredient in an entree. I thought no problem, I love black ripe olives, they have always been my favorite. Even with all those fancy olives out there, which I really like too, there is nothing like the taste of a ripe black olive, it isn’t as pungent, it has a nutty-like taste and can be perfectly topped on anything, including your fingers (hey, I was that kid, and err perhaps sometimes that adult…)
First thing that comes to mind when I want to include olives as a main ingredient in a dish, is to make it into an olive tapenade. Olive tapenades are so versatile and can be used to stuff chicken, top a fish fillet, spread on crackers or as sauce for pizza. Traditionally, an olive tapenade uses green or Kalamata olives, capers, and anchovies to make the spread. I wanted to keep more of the flavor of Lindsay’s olives here, so I left out the capers but still included a little anchovy paste to achieve some of the briny-ness we are used too. I also used a little lemon zest for brightness and red pepper flakes for heat.
Recipe:2 6 ounce cans Large Ripe Black Olives 1 tablespoon Anchovy Paste 3 garlic cloves Zest of half a lemon 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon olive oil
In the bowl of your food processor add the olives, anchovy paste, garlic, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Processor for about one minute, turn off and scrape down the sides. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and and pulse 5-6 times until well combined. Remove to a small bowl and side aside.
Since this was weeknight cooking, I cheated a little and picked up some dough from my local pizzeria. I was hoping to have prepared Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough, which was featured in the March issue of Bon Appetit. If you have two days (mostly inactive), I suggest going ahead and making this dough, it is suppose to be fantastic and it’s a wonderful option, especially if you aren’t as lucky as I to just pop into your local pizzeria to buy dough.
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F., if using a pizza stone, place your stone on the bottom rack of the oven to preheat at this time. Your oven should preheat for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to baking the pizza.
In a non-stick skillet on medium heat, saute the sliced onions until soft and lightly caramelized about 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
On a rimless baking sheet, stretch the pizza dough into a rectangle about 8″X12″. If you have trouble stretching the dough, let it rest for a few minutes and try stretching it again, it doesn’t need to be a perfect rectangle. Spread the black olive tapenade on the pizza dough like you would tomato sauce on a regular pizza.
Top with the onions and the cheeses. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust is nicely browned and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes before slicing into 8 slices and serving.