When I came to Greece I expected to find olive groves everywhere, and have my pick of olives at every corner. That has not been the case. Until I arrived in Crete that is. Now, I didn’t know Cretans were known for their Olives or Olive oils. I’ve never heard of a Cretan olive after all. Cretans however are fiercely proud of their Olive products from fresh, to oil to soap.
While taking a cooking class just south of Chania in the small town of Vamos, I was introduced to how Cretans farm and process olives using an Olive press dating all the way back to 1846. Cretan olives are perfect not only for making olive oil, but because of the summer sun the olives here are big, rich and bursting with flavour and are perfect for eating. Smaller olives in the north of Greece are more acrid and best used just for olive oil.
During this cooking class we made probably the best olive tapenade I’ve ever tasted. The olives were marinated with lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper. We then contrasted the saltiness of the olives with fresh heirloom tomatoes on bread and my goodness, the combination of flavours was nothing short of incredible.
- 2 pinches good quality sea salt
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 cups plump black olives, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon capers, chopped
- Toasted bread slices lightly rubbed with raw garlic
- 1 heirloom or other fresh tomato, sliced
- finely chop together garlic and sea salt, then mix well with the chopped olives
- Combine with the olive oil, lemon juice, parsely and capers
- Spread the tapenade on the toasted bread slices and top with a slice of tomato
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE BE SURE TO TAG YOUR PHOTO #FIGSANDMAPLE