My older sister worships olives. And pickles while we are at it. She's had three children and each pregnancy brought a host of cravings that included at least these two ingredients every time. For me this is nasty. I have never enjoyed pickles OR olives. Ever. But when she asked me to make this for her (I have basically assumed the private chef role for my family in Napa since I moved) I obliged. But there was one problem: how would I know if this tasted any good if I have never really made anything with either of these two ingredients before?
The recipe calls for thyme and that just didn't make since to me so I subbed for basil and doubled the garlic since I have found out that garlic is a big time ingredient here in CA. At the end of the day, my sister didn't care for this dish too much. Feedback was that there was too much 'orange zest', 'garlic' and 'olives were too minced'. Oh well.
Play with this recipe and see if you can make it work for you. Maybe thyme is best. Who knows...
Green Olive and Goat Cheese Crostinis
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup (lightly packed) chopped pitted imported brine-cured green olives
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic chives or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
16 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette
1 6-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese(cut into 16 rounds)
Servings: Makes 16
Toast fennel seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, shaking skillet occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer seeds to medium bowl. Add olives, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic chives, orange juice, thyme, and orange peel to bowl and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush both sides of bread slices with oil. Grill on 1 side until golden, about 1 minute. Turn bread over; immediately top each slice with 1 cheese round. Grill until bottoms are golden and cheese softens slightly, about 1 minute.
Transfer crostini to platter. Spoon olive mixture over and sprinkle with pepper.
Ingredient tip: Garlic chives, also known as Chinese chives, can be found at Asian markets.