Crostini with Basil Olivada

1 narrow loaf Italian bread
2 cups black olives, pitted
1/3 cup freshly chopped basil
1/4 cup shallot, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T. capers
1-2 T. red wine vinegar, to taste
4 garlic cloves

Begin by slicing the loaf of bread into 1/2-inch thick slices and transfer the slices to a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned, flip the slices over, and bake an additional 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned on the other side. Allow to cool slightly. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process to a chunky puree. Transfer to a small bowl or crock and serve on a platter with the crostini. To store extra olivada, transfer to an airtight container, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator for a month or more.

Variation: For an easy hors'doeuvre suggestion, spread the crostini with the olivada, and then decorate the tops with thinly sliced strips of roasted red pepper (store bought or see Recipe Archive), black olive slices, and basil leaves or parsley sprigs.

Yield: 1/2 cups olivada or serves 6-8 people


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