Sophisticated but incredibly easy: smash some olives, crush a bit of garlic, shred some bread, and you’re good to go!
Want to bring something different to your 4th of July party that DOESN’T need refrigeration or special care? A while back, I found something genuinely fabulous in my favorite place to find fabulous things – Bon Appétit Magazine. It’s a perfect recipe for things like 4th of July parties where light, savory snacks with friends really hit the spot.
There’s only one part of this recipe that needs a bit more explanation – smashing olives and crushing the garlic. I know that there are all sorts of ways to do this, but my video gives you some easy ways that work for me. The rest is that simple.
- 4-5 ounces of drained green (I prefer Castelvetranos for their flavor) unpitted olives
- 3 medium-sized cloves of garlic
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil – essential to get the “good stuff” for this recipe.
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 3-4 ounces of crumbly feta cheese. I use President Cheese.
- 1 loaf of crusty bread
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees F
- Rip up your bread into bite-sized pieces and place them on a baking sheet. When the oven is ready, bake the pieces of bread for 5-8 minutes, or just long enough to make the them a bit crispy and golden.
- Lightly smash (by pressing the side of the knife blade directly on top) the olives to just break apart the skin and flatten slightly.
- Smash (using the same technique as for the olives – you don’t want them completely flat!) and peel 3 cloves of garlic.
- Use a vegetable peeler (this will give you nice wide strips) to peel the zest from the lemon. Remember – only the yellow, not the white which will be bitter.
- Place lemon peel, smashed olives, crushed garlic, ½ cup of good Extra Virgin olive oil, and ½ tsp of red pepper flakes into a small saucepan over med-low heat. Swirl every so often and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the garlic is golden around the edges.
- Crumble feta cheese into a shallow serving bowl.
- Pour the olive oil mixture over the feta and let it sit at least 10 minutes. Longer if possible, perhaps an hour or more, before serving.
- Serve together with your crisped bread pieces.
You can always double or treble this recipe for a larger crowd.
Some last DO’s and DON’Ts – DO remind your guests that the olives are unpitted, but DON’T worry about letting this sit out for as long as your guests are nibbling. It will go fast! A Negroni is the perfect adult beverage to accompany this appetizer.
Happy 4th of July, America!