Holiday Feature


Mediterranean Black Olive Caviar

by Kate Heyhoe


Yield: 1-1/2 cups

This faux caviar looks a bit like the real thing: dark black, chunky and shiny. And, like real caviar, it's a bit on the salty side (if you prefer less salt, start with half the amount of anchovy paste). One bite reveals ingredients that stretch along the Mediterranean from North Africa to Greece to the Middle East. The Kalamata olives in this dish needed some mellowing, so to balance their boldness, I mix them with canned chopped black olives available in any supermarket. The result is a complex and pleasantly assertive spread, with olive and salt flavors that hit the front of the tongue first, followed by delightful little waves of oranges, basil, cumin, coriander, and caraway.

1 cup pitted Kalamata or other imported black olive
1 (4.25) ounce can chopped black olives
1/4 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup fruity olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

1. Finely chop the Kalamata olives and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the can of chopped olives.

2. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the whole caraway seeds to a powder; set aside.

3. In a mini-chopper or the chopping container of a handblender, combine the garlic, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, and olive oil. Blend until puréed.

4. Stir the olive oil mixture into the bowl. Stir in the orange juice, zest, caraway, cumin, coriander and black pepper. The mixture should resemble true caviar in color and texture. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature, taste to correct or refresh the seasonings (such as an extra squirt of orange juice) and serve with Belgian endive spears, dark bread, or crackers.


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December 5:

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Fred McMillin's Wine Picks

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Screwpull Lever Model LX and Stand
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December 19:

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...and Last Minute Gift Suggestions

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December 26:

Festive but Faux Caviars
Exquisite Eggplant Caviar
Lone Star Caviar
Mediterranean Black Olive Caviar

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Copyright © 1998, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page created 1998 and modified November 2006.