Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Salted Olive Crisps -- a taste of Paris! #recipe

LESLIE: As I write this, we’re getting ready for a trip to Paris, primarily to visit the Leonardo exhibit at the Louvre, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the maestro’s death, with more than 160 of his drawings, sculptures, and paintings, many borrowed from museums around the world. As you read this, we’re just back, no doubt our minds filled with sights, sounds, and tastes of the City of Lights.

Lucy and I share an admiration for the blog and books of David Lebovitz, an American chef and writer living in Paris. Sadly, he no longer conducts food tours—she actually got to go on one of his bread tours, and I’ll be eternally envious! Next best thing, reading his books and cooking from them. (You’ve cooked from his blog with me a few times, without knowing it—one adaptation I can think of at the moment is my Spiced Glazed Nuts and Pretzels mix from Assault & Pepper, a holiday favorite chez nous, based on a recipe from his blog.)

So I knew when I saw his Salted Olive Crisps, in My Paris Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2014), that I wanted to make them and share them with you. Sadly, I can’t pass a basket of them through the computer screen—wrong kind of windows—so the recipe will have to be the next best thing.

I used almonds and herbes de Provence---find my recipe in Assault & Pepper, and in my first Mystery Lovers' Kitchen post as a regular!  Walnuts would be good, and an Italian herb blend would be a nice substitute. I used Kalamata olives, dabbing them dry-ish with a paper towel, but other dark, cured olives would work nicely. I’ve suggested more salt—that’s up to you---added cooling times, and rewritten the instructions slightly, but it remains very much Monsieur Lebovitz’s recipe. Note that while the active cooking time is short, only about 15 minutes, there are two half-hour bakes and some cooling time, so give yourself plenty of time—maybe make these the day before you plan to serve them to let them fully crisp.

They would be great with a chilled white wine and a soft creamy cheese, but we’d been cleaning out the fridge, so we had neither. C’est la vie!

Salted Olive Crisps 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence or dried thyme
1-2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup almonds, not toasted, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup packed, coarsely chopped, pitted olives

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray or oil it lightly, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a bowl, stir together the all-purpose and wheat flours, sugar, dried herbes, salt, baking soda, and black pepper. Add the buttermilk and mix with a spatula. Stir in the almonds and olives. Pour batter into the pan and spread to the corners with your spatula. Bake 30 minutes, until it feels set in the center.

Remove pan from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Remove loaf from pan, running a knife around the edges to loosen it if necessary. Cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Place the loaf on your cutting board. Hold the outside edges firmly to keep it from crumbling as you slice the loaf crosswise as thinly as you can, no more than 1/4" thick. (If the loaf is too warm, it won’t slice cleanly.) Lay slices flat on the baking sheets and bake 30-35 minutes, flipping the slices and rotating the baking sheets on your oven racks after about 15 minutes, to brown the slices evenly. Watch carefully in the last 5-10 minutes so they don’t overbrown.

Remove from oven and cool completely before serving. Crisps will keep about 1 week, stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Makes about 40 crackers.

Bon appetit!

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and is now nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. A savory biscotti! (spell check want me to change that to Scottish!)
    Bet they would taste great with a smear of goat cheese and a bowl of minestrone soup.

    1. Silly spellcheck! And yes, that would be a great combo!

  2. yummy!! how wonderful that you will be heading to Paris soon. have a wonderful time. thanks for the recipe. hope you take some photos and share them with us.

    1. Thanks -- we're back and it was wonderful! Chilly, but clear and dry. Photos to come on my FB Author page. Recipes to come here!