We LOVE olives. all three of us. even though the little one cringes every time he takes a bite, he will still ask for more. so i was certain that this loaf would be an instant hit with us. and I was right. we loved it. though Dorie suggested serving long fingers of the loaf as a pre-dinner nibble, on day one, I served slices of the loaf for dinner along with a simple broccoli soup, also from Dorie's book. the two paired up quite well and we felt so full afterwards that that day the rest of the dinner returned to the refrigerator untouched. no grudges about that. it just saved me from cooking up dinner the next day :-)
As Dorie says, originally this recipe or something close was printed on a card produced by the Comtè cheese makers organization and distributed to fromageries all over France. She and Patricia Wells chanced upon them while shopping in Provence and later tweaked the recipe to make their own loaves. For my loaf I followed Dorie's recipe to bits and used Swiss cheese, tapenade, oil-cured black olives and orange zest. since my husband is not a fish-eater, initially i was a little wary about the use of tapenade in the recipe. i however realized later that there is really nothing fishy about it and quite enjoyed the slight pickle-y flavor that it added to the loaf.
Will I be baking it again ? Oh. Yes. It is such a delicious loaf and takes so little time to put together !! I might however rethink the quantity of salt and serve it nibble-size with a drink, just as a French host would do... I am also keen on trying out the other variations that she suggested. A pesto loaf with pine nuts and sundried tomatoes is what i have in mind for the weekend.
As a member of french friday's with Dorie I am not supposed to post the recipe on the blog. However you can find this particular recipe in Dorie's June, 2009, Newsletter. For more delicious recipes order your copies of Around the French Table from Amazon or from The Book Depository and join us as we cook our way through the book.