Use any olives you fancy, even a mix of green and black. The flavor of olive oil will come through here, so use a good one. Pit olives easily by laying them on a cutting board and crushing them with the bottom of a cast-iron skillet, then fishing out the pits. Yield: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups.
1 cup pitted olives
1 clove garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh figs, stemmed
1/2 cup roasted or sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup nuts
1 to 2 anchovy fillets
1 tsp fresh herbs, such as basil or rosemary
In a food processor, whiz pitted olives, garlic and lemon juice, plus any optional add-ins. While machine is running, pour in olive oil in a stream, until a chunky paste forms. Serve as a condiment, on crostini as an appetizer, or tossed with pasta as a sauce.
Want the important basics on olive oil? Check out All About Olive Oil: Cooking, Tasting and Buying.
Photo by Tim Nauman: The flavor of the olive oil will really shine here, so use your best extra-virgin olive oil.