November 2011

Chef’s Table Nancy Silverton


Silverton’s Mediterranean culinary devotion extends to her home fridge, where this citrusy tapenade is always waiting for drop-ins. Just add fresh mozza-rella and fett’unta—grilled or toasted rustic bread—and you’re set. “It’s the ketchup of my house,” she says, “able to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary.”

1 cup olive puree (preferably one with just olives or olives and olive oil, such as the pâté made by Rustichella d’Abruzzo)
¼ cup Ligurian olives, sliced and pitted (or another black olive, such as Taggiasche or Niçoise)
2 salt-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed, backbones removed, finely chopped and smashed
Grated zest of 1 large orange
Grated zest, juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp salt-packed capers, soaked for 15 minutes, rinsed, drained and chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
½ cup Italian parsley, sliced

Combine puree, olives, anchovies, orange and lemon zest, lemon juice and capers in medium bowl. Stir in olive oil, adding more if needed for a loose, spreadable consistency. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to several weeks. Stir in parsley just before serving. Makes about 1 cup.


“If you happen to have a charcoal grill lit, that is my first choice,” says Silverton, “but you can also make it in a grill pan or sandwich press. Just be prepared for a bit of smoke. At home it’s always part of my Umbrian tavola.”

4 thick slices (1 ½ inches)crusty white bread (I use La Brea Bakery white table bread)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
¾ cup finishing-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt (preferably Maldon or fleur de sel

Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill or preheat grill pan or heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Brush bread slices liberally on both sides with olive oil. Place on grill and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and rub garlic clove over one side of each piece. Pour 3 tablespoons finishing-quality oil over same side and season generously with sea salt. Cut on an angle into halves or thirds. Serves 4.

Excerpted from The Mozza Cookbook, by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño.

PHOTO: Brian Leatart
FOOD STYLIST: Leisel Maggiore