Olive Bruschetta – These flavorful bites are made for olive lovers, with a blend of green Castelvetrano olives, Kalamata olives, red bell peppers, and briny capers served on baguette slices for an easy appetizer!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the California Olive Oil Council. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you were to stop by my house late in the afternoon, you would find me in the kitchen, whisking up the evening’s meal, the stove bubbling, and counters cluttered with multiple cutting boards and ingredients. (Try as I might, somehow, I skew towards messy when I’m cooking.) I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise, but what might surprise you is the little treat I’ve poured myself, sipping on as I cook.
A glass of wine, you guess? Actually, no!
Next to my spatula rest, you will find a tiny shot glass half full of the freshest extra virgin olive oil I can source, its grassy green hue glowing. I savor its clean flavor and spicy kickback, indulging in little sips as I cook. Lest you think this odd, let me explain.
Ever since my first olive oil harvest experience, I came to appreciate the beauty of truly fresh, excellent-quality olive oil. After tasting the oil that had been freshly pressed, my life changed. Instantly, I realized that all I knew about olive oil, and what I thought was decent quality, was not. I learned what to look for, its health benefits, and how the quality of the fruit makes all the difference.
Imagine you had been drinking terrible wine all your life, and then suddenly, you tasted a perfect pour. This is what it was like for me.
So now, when cooking with an incredibly excellent bottle of olive oil, I pour myself a little touch to sip as I cook!
An excellent quality olive oil should be appreciated, and while you may not take to sipping it plain as I do, there are other ways to enjoy it. Such as in this olive bruschetta, which I love — it marries olives in various formats, from fruit to oil, a marriage of briny and bright flavors in every bite!
I am always excited to learn more about olive oil, how it is produced, and the unique ways we can enjoy it, so I was excited to join the California Olive Oil Council for a special evening recently.
An Evening with the California Olive Oil Council
We dove deep into the world of olive oil in the best way possible – hands-on! The California Olive Oil Council (COOC) organized a wonderful evening at the Civic Kitchen in San Francisco, where we cooked a delicious meal with extra virgin olive oil from California, from appetizers to dessert. I joined friends old and new, cooking alongside the expert chefs at Civic Kitchen and the COOC, and the menu was delicious!
There was a Bagna Cauda with fennel, chicory, winter squash, and focaccia (I must share the focaccia recipe with you!) to start. Monkfish Bourride with a silky olive aioli was our delicious main. And as for dessert, that was made by yours truly and my friend Rezel. We whipped up mini Spiced Apple Bundt Cakes and Olive Oil Ice cream — simple and delicious!
Good food aside, what I appreciated most was learning more about olive oil production and the COOC’s role in ensuring we get the best quality product in our kitchens. As we tasted our way through a flight of six different olive oils, we had the opportunity to understand more about each variety’s nuances; we learned what makes them unique, whether it was the variety of olives, a distinctive blend, or the producer.
How to Find the Best Quality Olive Oil
If you find yourself overwhelmed when you are at the grocery store, do not worry! You’re not alone. But let me offer some tips for finding the best quality extra virgin olive oil.
Look for the COOC Seal
The good news is this: California holds some of the highest standards in the world for extra virgin olive oil! And here in California, the California Olive Oil Council certifies that the oil you purchase is 100% California grown and has passed stringent quality assurance testing with the COOC Seal. This assessment is repeated every year with each harvest, and assuring us with olive oil that is traceable to its source! So, look for the label on the bottle! Or, find all members of the COOC under their seal here.
Look for the harvest date
Did you know olive oil is best when used within 18 months of harvest? The fresher it is, the better. Good quality olive oils will label bottles with the harvest date. So when you buy your olive oil, please don’t hold on to it — use it! Store it away from sunlight – good packaging will be opaque to prevent light from entering the bottle, so don’t worry if you can’t see the olive oil on the grocery shelf!
Look for Extra Virgin
When in doubt, look for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). EVOO is the highest quality grade and must meet the highest standards to be sold under “extra virgin” label. EVOO is made by crushing olives and can never be produced using chemicals or extreme heat. This results in a fruity olive oil, free from defects and odor.
Unfortunately, there are companies out there that misuse the label claiming that olive oil is extra virgin. Again, this is why I value the COOC Seal, which certifies that the olive oil you are purchasing is 100% extra virgin!
How to Make Olive Bruschetta
When you think of bruschetta, you most likely think of a classic toast topped with tomatoes. This olive bruschetta recipe is a delicious take on the classic! I love how it embraces Mediterranean olive flavors with a blend of Castelvetrano olives, Kalamata olives, red bell pepper, and capers for a simple appetizer!
Making this recipe couldn’t be easier. I use a food processor and add all the ingredients: olives, roasted red pepper, shallot, capers, garlic, vinegar, oregano, basil, parsley, and olive oil. A few pulses is all it takes to give the topping a fine chop. I let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together – this softens and tempers the shallot, as well, mellowing out its bite. This gives you time to toast your bread.
If you want to save time, you can also use store bought crostini, making this even easier!
Serve the olive bruschetta as is, or for an extra pop of flavor, add a sprinkling of feta cheese! But if you want to keep this as a vegan-friendly appetizer, then skip this step.
Learn More about Olive Oil
Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with the California Olive Oil Council. Thank you for supporting brands that matter to me; sponsored posts such as this help behind the scenes at Kitchen Confidante. All opinions in this post are, as always, my own.
For the tapenade:
- 1 cup Castelvetrano olives drained
- 3/4 cup Kalamata olives drained
- 2 tablespoons small diced roasted red pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 1/2 teaspoons capers
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon
- 2 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
plus more for the baguette and drizzling
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the bruschetta:
- 1 baguette sliced into 24 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 clove garlic halved
- 2 tablespoons finely diced feta cheese optional
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the olives, roasted red pepper, shallot, capers, garlic, vinegar, oregano, basil, parsley, and olive oil. Give it a few pulses until the olives are finely chopped, but still chunky. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the baguette.
- Brush the slices of bread with olive oil and rub with garlic. Place on a baking tray and toast under a broiler or on a grill pan until golden.
- Top each piece of toast with about 1 tablespoon of the olive tapenade. Garnish with feta cheese, if desired. Enjoy!