Since going grain-free, I miss bread. But probably not in the way you’re thinking, and it’s more accurate to say that I miss bread-making: those deeply meditative, repetitive motions of kneading to sink your awareness into, the precise measuring of ingredients, exercising patience while the dough rises, that universally comforting, wholesome warm smell… You see? Bread-making is an exercise of the senses, the intellect, and your body (if given its due).
Working to recreate this age-old experience with new-age grain-free ingredients seems completely badass to me. Providing delicious sustenance that is also allergen-free = a life skill supreme. Grain-free baking may be a special-occasion endeavor for many folks due to its specialty ingredients, but (like other things worth doing) practice makes perfect. That being said, focaccia is generally considered a good beginner’s bread… and this ripe olive focaccia may be a better one to start with than most focaccias, dare I say. It requires no kneading or rising, instead there is almond flour to be tossed with torn sundried tomatoes and sliced olives, then a stiff dough smelling warmly of rosemary to be cradled. This recipe leverages a classically delicious flavor combo of ripe olives and sun-dried tomatoes. What could be more dreamily reminiscent of the sunny Mediterranean? Here in the chill of San Francisco “summer”, this feels right: bake your own bread, make your own edible sunshine.
So go forth and enjoy both the process and the product of (grain-free) bread-making, especially using the bright flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. I used California Ripe Olives in my recipe because they’re widely available, domestically grown, and their flavor is a weakness of mine (I could eat them straight from the can)! I love ripe olives in salads, on appetizer plates, worked into specialty breads like focaccia, to garnish grain-free pizza, and tucked into bowls of zoodles! I’m not overly preoccupied with micronutrients, but California Ripe Olives are as good as they taste, and contain vitamin E, iron, vitamin A, and fiber. They are packaged at their peak to preserve nutrients for year-round enjoyment, so I’ll be revisiting this recipe at the end of this year when the sunny flavors of summer are hard to come by.
If you’re looking for a other ideas on how to add them to your meals, check out some of these recipes from California Ripe Olives. They’re also hosting a Midsummer Mediterranean Giveaway, participate for a chance to win a fabulous prize package to enjoy tasty flavors this season and beyond.
- 2 cups almond flour
- ½ cup sliced California Black Ripe Olives, drained
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes,torn into bite-sized pieces and drained
- ½ tsp diced fresh rosemary, plus more to garnish
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 tsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8″ square cake pan with olive oil, set aside.
- Toss the almond flour with the sliced olives and sundried tomatoes (reserve approximately a tablespoon each of the olives and tomatoes to garnish the top of the focaccia if desired). Mix in the rosemary and salt.
- Stir in the eggs and three tablespoons of olive oil, mix until a stiff dough forms.
- Transfer to the greased cake pan, press from the center outward into each corner until the dough is flat and even. Garnish with the reserved olives and sundied tomatoes if desired, press to adhere. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the dough and press to adhere.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, remove and let cool when the edges are browned but not burnt.
- Let cool to room temperature, then top with additional fresh rosemary, slice, and serve.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.