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Rhubarb Soup with Nicoise Olive Cookies

This was our amuse bouche for our opening night at Jack. I’m a bit obsessed with nicoise olives at the moment, because I absolutely hated all olives until I discovered these at the Park Avenue Bistro not too long ago. So now I’m using them to add depth to stews, intricacy to cookies, and inspiration all around.

I love alternating sips of chilled, tart rhubarb soup with bites of crumbly, salty olive cookies. I know it sounds odd, but they really were quite lovely together! Brave the olive cookies; you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Also, my apologies for the radio silence lately. It’s been spring on and off, and I just want to go out and wander the streets and parks whenever the sun comes out. I treasure every evening spent having dinner outdoors in a tank top, every smell of earth and green growing wonder, and even the comforting smell of rain first hitting the pavement. I spent last Sunday night in Prospect Park at a marching band scavenger hunt and capture the flag game. Not to mention the lawyering that takes up time, too. Life is grand, every moment of it.

Speaking of which, if any of you locals like playing board games (such as Scrabble or Go), stop by the Brooklyn Lyceum and say hi on Monday night. I’ll be there.

2007: Sour Cherry Braised Lamb Shanks
2006: Pear and Basil Tart

Rhubarb Soup
(adapted from La Tartine Gourmande)
18 oz rhubarb
1 3/4 oz sugar
1/4 C water

Chop the rhubarb into cubes. Simmer everything together until the rhubarb is soft and fallen apart. Pass through a tamis. Serve chilled.

Nicoise Olive Cookies
(adapted from The Traveler’s Lunchbox)
9 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 C (heaping) pitted and coarsely chopped nicoise olives
Maldon salt to taste

Cream butter until soft. Mix in sugar. Mix in olive oil. Mix in salt and flour, gently but thoroughly. Mix in olives.

Press about 1/4″ thick on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Score with a butter knife into squares. Poke holes with a fork. Sprinkle a bit of Maldon salt on top.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. Cut apart while still warm.

Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.

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17 Responses to “Rhubarb Soup with Nicoise Olive Cookies”

  1. Kitt says:

    Wow, what a funky combination1 Definitely puts the amuse in amuse-bouche. I’d love to try that.

  2. Bron says:

    your soup and cookies sound usual, be ever so grand too… wish I could dine with Jack, wish it was warmer here too, wishing lots of things. Will give the cookies a try soon!

  3. brilynn says:

    I used to not like olives until I had them marinated at a farmer’s market in Australia. And my grandpa used to tell me I would love them if I would just sit down and eat 10 of them in a row. In any case, I love them now and this sounds like a wonderful amuse bouche!

  4. Anticiplate says:

    This is fantastic! I would order this is a restaurant any day! Too bad I could never cook this at home. My husband hate olives and rhubarb:)

  5. Sophie says:

    Wow, olive cookies! I love olives and I love cookies, but it’s never occurred to me to mix them together like this! Fantastic. I am bookmarking this recipe :). Thanks for sharing!

  6. mr.ed says:

    Mmmm, fruit soup. Rhubarb “naturally/traditionally” goes with strawberries. I’d try adding some and cutting the sugar. And they’re both seasonal. What a wonderful coincidence, and a favorite of Auntie Liz, who’s already looking at songs to sing at your wedding.

  7. mimi says:

    looks delish!! the rhubarb was all gone by the time i made it to the greenmarket. did you serve the soup warm or chilled? and congrats on jack!

  8. I have just stumbled upon your blog. I love the clean design and fantastic photos. I am a blogger myself and always thought that design was key and you have certainly captured that! There are so many food blogs out there these days and being different to all the others is key. I have just started http://www.ifoods.tv which is a website for chefs, foodies and food bloggers to hand out, share recipes, photos and videos. When i was blogging I always thought i should be getting more traffic as my blog was getting lost in the masses of stuff out there so my new site is aimed at giving food bloggers and chefs a bigger platform! Hope you enjoy it and keep up the good writing and design here! I have now bookmarked you so will be regular reader, Cheers!

  9. Gabi says:

    I love your inventiveness with food. It is fun to read of your explorations with flavour and unusual combinations of flavours.

    I will definitely be trying your amuse-bouche!

    It’s funny I’ve had lots of friends including my hubbie who didn’t like olives when I met them but I kept presenting good ones like nicoise or picholine and sooner or later they became converts. Good for you for keeping an open minded palate.

  10. andreea says:

    i like the sound of this very much. very original

  11. Wow, that looks great. I love the picture too!

  12. Danielle says:

    Kitt – Give it a try!

    Bron – Let me know how you like them! And oh, I’m jealous of your warmth all winter here.

    brilynn – Jeffrey Steingarten says that you can get over nearly any food aversion just by trying that food 8-10 times. I should force myself to do that with all my other hated foods.

    Sophie – Thanks, let me know how you like it!

    mr.ed – Strawberry rhubarb sure is tasty, too. And that’s so sweet of Liz! I’m really thrilled that she’ll be singing for us.

    mimi – Thanks! We served it chilled. I edited the post to make that clearer.

    Anticiplat, Niall, andreea, Chocolate Shavings – Thanks!

    Gabi – Thank you so much! Please let me know how it goes when you try it. Picholine are good, too? I guess I’ll be brave and try those next, on your recommendation!

  13. Yvo says:

    So how was opening night?!?!?! =)

  14. nina says:

    I have found your blog only today, via Ms Adventures in Italy and am so glad I did. I see you are the next host for DMBLGIT. Can you please give me more info, because Maryann from Finding la dolce vita suggested that I enter.

    I love the little servings of soup and the olive cookies look divine. I brined my own olives last year and have plenty to use for this recipe.

  15. Danielle says:

    Yvo – It was great! We’ve actually had two nights, so far.

    nina – I’ll be posting an announcement with more info sometime in the next few days. Just check back and it will be up soon. And please do enter! Wow, brining your own olives, that sounds amazing.

  16. Aran says:

    great post! love this idea!

  17. Tartelette says:

    Absolutely wonderful mix of flavors and textures!

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