Wouldn’t it be great if, just by reading this post, you could actually taste the food I am about to describe? Then you would know how really wonderful it is, and that it would be worth it to do the legwork and go to the expense of gathering the necessary components for the recipe to follow. It’s hard to imagine that this kind of development could ever be realized, but then, who (of my generation) would have believed that we would one day be able to call home from an airplane in order to turn on the oven or use our brainwaves to control a computer? http://interaxon.ca/.
For today, you’ll just have to rely on the power of faith and believe that you probably would love these olives. If you don’t live in Toronto or London, Ontario, I am sorry. Even if you do live in Toronto, there are only two stores that carry the rare and little-known Caraffa olive. You’ll have to make your way to Pusateri’s or Highland Farms to acquire this ambrosial treasure. They are made in London, Ont., according to an old family recipe, developed by Filippo Franze of the commune of Caraffa del Bianco in Calabria. Marinated in oil, oregano and chili pepper, they hit the perfect piquancy. Having 75% less salt than the norm might account for their unique character; they are meaty, assertive, and robust, without the briney distraction. And a little pricey too. Delicious in pasta, great as an app on toasted baguette, and divine when served canapé-style, as here, with cheese and roasted tomato.
The sheep’s cheese, from Monforte Dairy (of Stratford, Ontario) is a Pecorino Fresco and available in Toronto at several of the Farmers’ Markets. It has the sparkling freshness of a ricotta as well as the character of a riper age. Perhaps a Bocconcini or a Chevre could be substituted, but I can’t vouch for it. Everything sits on top of a wafer called a ‘Waterthin’. The creaminess of the cheese, the meatiness of the olive, the tang of the tomato, the crunch of the cracker all add up to a greater-than-the-sum-of-parts….…Synergy personified.
Recipe: Caraffa Olive Canapés
10 oz. grape tomatoes
1 round Pecorino Fresco, Monforte Dairy
1 box Waterthins
1 jar Caraffa olives (see sources cited above)
Halve the tomatoes, toss with a bit of olive oil, and roast at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Arrange on crackers a piece each of olive, cheese, and tomato.
These should be made as close as possible to serving time so that the wafers don’t get soggy.
Obviously, if you aren’t having a party, you won’t need to make 60. Maybe just a dozen for the four of you. You could use the rest of the cheese for a caprese salad or in a sandwich.
Try adding the olives to broccoli and garlic, flash-fried, al dente, for a delectable side dish.
Fennel complements them perfectly and these added to pasta with carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic can result in a sumptuous supper with minimal prep time.
Although referring to olives of a different time and place, Lawrence Durrell said it so well in his book “Prospero’s Cell”, written during WWII about the island of Corfu……(pardon the rhyme)……
The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palm, the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine, the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons, the bronze men, the philosophers -all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent taste of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.