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Green Olive Spread


Yields about 2 cups.

  • Make the menu:
    A Portuguese Tapas Party
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

What makes this spread such a marvel is its “milk mayonnaise” base, an eggless emulsion of milk and vegetable oil. It creates a luscious, neutral canvas, allowing the flavor of the olives to take center stage. You can make the base of the spread 3 days ahead and stir in the olives when ready to serve.

  • 2/3 cup whole milk; more if needed
  • 12 large oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 2 small cloves garlic, smashed
  • 16 fresh cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1-1/3 cups pitted brined green olives, rinsed if particularly salty, coarsely chopped
  • 1 baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick and toasted

Purée the milk, anchovies, garlic, cilantro, and a pinch of pepper in a blender. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the feed hole in the blender cap.

Scoop the spread into a serving bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days. Just before serving, stir in the olives. The spread will thicken a bit more when the olives are added. If it thickens too much, thin it with a bit of milk.

Serve with the toasted baguette slices.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1 Tbs., Calories (kcal): 110, Fat (kcal): 11, Fat Calories (g): 100, Saturated Fat (g): 1.5, Protein (g): 1, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 2, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 4.5, Sodium (g): 160, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: John Kernick

I have made this three times, carefully following directions in the recipe and in these reviews, in both my food processor and in a blender. It has never set up, but just comes out liquid. The taste is divine, hence my continued efforts to get it to work. I use it for salad dressing, but continue to wish I could make the dip. I would like to figure out the problem ... Perhaps run the blender on a slower speed? I am using purée.

I love this. I'm usually not a fan of mayonnaise, especially store bought which I can't even swallow. On the rare occasions I need some mayo I have to make my own and as pasteurized eggs aren't available in Germany I make this one for health concerns ( especially in summer). Therefore I don't use anchovy, but a little sugar and lemon juice. Never had problems with it not thickening.Thanks for this great recipe!

Add me to the "happy campers" from this unusual emulsion based spread. I loved Pielove's directive of "half a pencil thin" flow of the oil while making this recipe. I used my immersion blender and the results were delicious. The only caveat from such a rich spread is not to pile it too high onto the crostinis. So flavorful and delicious! Cheers, Jeff

This is a delicious spread, but strongly flavored-- I only used 6 anchovies and that was PLENTY. The milk-oil emulsion makes for a light dip that beautifully conveys the garlic-anchovy-olive flavors without the usual heaviness associated with a cheese-laden spread. Tasty and perfect with cocktails and crusty french bread. For the reviewer who had trouble forming an emulsion, you have to pour in the oil slowly-- the stream of oil should be about half as thick as a pencil. I had no trouble making this thicken in an ordinary blender.

Well, this isn't a review b/c I'm having trouble with the recipe. I added all the ingredients to my Vitamix just as the instructions call for (adding olive oil as the motor ran for the vegetable oil). The resulting concoction wasn't creamy at all - it poured out of the Vitamix. I refrigerated it over night and it is still completely runny. What am I missing?

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