Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kalamata Olive Aioli Dip

Arizona’s historic Biltmore Hotel used to serve this fabulous dip with lavash (flatbread) on their dining patio. I remembered how delicious it was on a trip to Phoenix last week, when I spent a couple of hours swanning around the gorgeous hotel that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. This recipe - which I’ve modified from the Biltmore’s kitchen - is one of my favorite simple appetizers.  It keeps a week in the fridge - but never lasts that long! With a little extra mayo, it can also be used as a sauce.

Kalamata Olive Aioli Dip:

¾ c. pitted kalamata olives, using more as needed (see Note)
1 oz. coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
6 cloves fresh garlic
1 oz. fresh basil leaves
1-¾ c. mayonnaise 

Drain olives well, patting lightly with a paper towel. Add olives, Parmesan, garlic, and basil to food processor, pulsing just until mixture starts to thicken. Add mayonnaise a little at a time, processing until smooth. Do not over-process, or mixture will turn purple. Add a few extra olives, processing just until small bits of olive remain. Chill well. Serve with dipping crackers or crudités.

Note: Kalamata olives are Greek olives. Don’t substitute any other kind. Buy them fresh at the deli counter or in the ethnic foods section of your supermarket. Buy about a cupful; these will reduce to about ¾ c. after you pit them. 

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