Saturday, January 1, 2011


Use good olives here!  It’s not important to get the proportions exactly right – it’s always delicious, can be made a day ahead, and keeps for several days if you happen to have leftovers.  Black Bottle in Seattle serves the salad that inspired this recipe with salami on the side but it isn't necessary; this dish stands on its own.  Serve more-or-less at room temperature.

1 C. each green and black olives (Picholines or Lucques and Kalamatas; throw in some Cerignolas if you want less intensity)
½ of a medium-sized fennel bulb plus some fennel fronds
1/2 C. diced tomatoes or quartered cherry tomatoes
2 oz. French feta, crumbled (about ½ C.)
about 10 grinds fresh pepper
about 3 T. good olive oil
butter lettuce leaves for serving

Pit the olives by pressing them beneath the broad end of a chef’s knife or cleaver.  Put them in a glass or plastic bowl with a cover.

Slice the fennel in half lengthwise and then crosswise, as thinly as you can.  Stir this into the olives along with the tomatoes, feta, and pepper, and 2T. olive oil. Chop the fennel fronds and place them on top of the salad. 

To serve, spread the butter lettuce leaves on a plate and arrange the salad atop them. Drizzle with the remaining 1 T. olive oil. Yield: About 3 Cups (4-6 servings).

Wines: light reds, fuller-bodied reds
Compliments cured meats, cheeses

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