My friend Jessica, recently became a vegetarian, and when I had her over for dinner I wanted to make sure she had something to munch on that would also please my other guests.
So I made an olive tapenade, something salty and briny that was a hit with everyone. And for the main course, I made her mushroom risotto with sherry.
Crostini with Olive Tapenade – 12 crostinis
3/4 cups pitted green picholines and black nicoise olives
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Freshly ground white pepper
1/8 cup olive oil
12 thin slices of baguette
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the olives, capers, parsley, garlic, red wine, lemon juice and white pepper. Pulse once or twice to combine roughly, then add the olive oil and pulse briefly, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The texture should be chunky, rather than a smooth. Set aside so that the flavors can meld.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer the toasted baguette slices to a serving platter. Spread each one with tapenade, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Side note for the tapenade, you can add 1 teaspoon anchovy paste.
Mushroom Risotto – 2 servings
1/8 cup olive oil
1 small red onion, minced
1/2 pound (8 oz) portabello mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
3/4 cup Arborio rice
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a small saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and cook until softened – not browned. Add the mushrooms and saute until lightly browned. Add the rice and stir until thoroughly coated in oil.
Add a laddle of stock at a time, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring while adding more stock (a laddle at a time), waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time. Continue to do this until the rice is tender and creamy, about 18 minutes.
Add the dry sherry and cook until there isn’t an alcohol smell, and the alcohol is absorbed. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and Parmigiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and divide among 2 warm plates – serve immediately.