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Cocktail Hour, Anyone? {CtBF}

What do you snack on with a drink while you prepare dinner?  Or set out for guests while you apply the final touches on a meal?  Depending on the menu or the drink, we typically serve cheese and crackers or chips and salsa.  If company is coming over, I put more thought into it, offering a variety of textures plus accommodations for dietary restrictions or sensitivities.  I’m always looking for new ideas and inspirations for easy cocktail time nibbles.

This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays fits the bill.  I’d describe Salted Olive Crisps as something between a thin savory biscotti and a full-loaded cracker.  You start by making a shallow loaf of something like a quick bread with a healthy dose of Herbes de Provence and oodles of chopped olives and almonds.  After the loaf is baked and slightly cooled, you slice the loaf as thinly as you can and bake the slices again to crisp them up.  Once cooled, you have a treat to offer (to yourself or others) alongside a glass of wine or other beverage.

Though I used a good bread knife, as recommended, to slice the loaf, my crisps weren’t quite as thin as they were meant to be.  I think it’s because the recipe wasn’t clear about how long to cool to bake the loaf before slicing.  I only let it cool until I could handle it, about 10 minutes.  It was still warm.  However, when the recipe said to turn down the oven temperature after the loaf came out of the oven, it seemed like I was meant to bake the slices shortly after the loaf was done.  I felt like if the loaf had cooled completely, it would have been easier to slice thinner.

The slightly thicker slices took longer to get to golden brown and still felt a bit soft.  I baked these after dinner, so they weren’t cool enough to put in a closed container before bedtime.  I put them back in the warm (turned off) oven to spend the night.  In the morning, they were beautifully crisp.

I used oil-cured olives that have a slightly sweet flavor and a chewy texture like moist raisins or prunes.  In fact, I often use these same olives as a substitution for dried fruit in recipes that Howard would otherwise eat.  I can see this recipe serving as a springboard for many other combinations, varying the herbs, the olives, the nuts, and adding other savory ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes or capers.  I think it would be nice with a combination of sweet and savory ingredients, but I’d have to try that when I’m bringing treats to a friend (refer to constraint above).

If you’d like to try these yourself, check out the recipe on page 42 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  You can learn more about other bloggers’ experiences with this recipe here.  Or let me know when you want to stop by for cocktail hour chez moi, and I’ll whip up a batch and share!