|Savory olive bread|
You see, it began its life -- well, its life in The Ninj's kitchen, anyway -- as an afterthought, just a little somethin'-somethin' to go with a corn chowder recipe I was testing (stay tuned).
And yet, as wonderful as the chowder was (still stay tuned), the bread really deserved some solo props.
I needed a side for the chowder that would suffice as both bread (because I wanted it) and a vegetable or salad (because I needed it). That's a tall order, I know. But I was willing to stretch the truth a little if I found something even close.
Browsing through my Pinterest food boards, I came across a recipe I had pinned a while ago for a quick bread loaded with greens: perfect.
Then I read the recipe.
It involved a whole lot of onion carmelization before you could even start thinking about the bread batter. That wouldn't work, as I needed a quick bread, not a stand-around-and-carmelize-till-the-cows-come-home bread.
The blogger of that recipe, however, had very kindly provided some links to other savory quick bread recipes, including this one for French olive bread, which originates with Susan Hermann Loomis, of On Rue Tatin fame (I loved that book!).
As is The Way of The Ninj, I made a number of modifications, based on what sounded good to me, what ingredients I had on hand and, frankly, the fact that I misread the cooking temperature and recommended time.
(Seriously. I don't know how it didn't come out completely screwed up.)
The bread is very rich and very dense -- and literally packed with veggies. Given the briney olives and roasted peppers, the flavors are wonderfully tangy without being too overwhelming; you can still appreciate the earthiness of the spinach and the hint of sweetness from the dough itself. In fact, I bet it would be a very hearty breakfast bread (and a great way to sneak in some veggies first thing in the morning). Additionally, I can see this bread translating wonderfully into muffins or mini loaves, perfect for freezing.
It's exactly the salad-cum-bread that I needed.
A very tall order fulfilled by a very happy accident.
French Olive Bread (adapted from a Susan Hermann Loomis recipe as demonstrated by One Perfect Bite)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 1/2 cups thinly sliced baby spinach
2 large halves of jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
1 heaping cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper1/2 cup (heaping) grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the eggs; whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the garlic and spinach. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in the red peppers, olives, black pepper and cheese.
Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the bread is golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then continue cooling on a wire rack.