Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Black olive paper

You can practically make a "paper" out of any food that has a pulp-like consistency when pureed. The obvious initial choice for me was to use fruit. And we made mango, guava and papaya papers. The guava yielded the best results, being the most brittle of all. The others were more pliable.It has to do with the sugar content of the fruit. The guava had the least amount of sugar.

I have posted about this method before (seen originally in "Ideas in Food"); it is a mixture of a puree (fruit, vegetable) with methocel A7C (1% of the total weight of the puree). In this case I blanched olives to reduce the briny taste, then I pureed it with the A7C, spread it thin over an acetate sheet and dehydrated it. I didn't bother cutting a perfect shape, choosing instead to leave it as organic as possible.

This has a very different olive taste. It almost tastes like an olive right off the tree. Well, the brine has been mostly cooked away, of course, but it was a very pleasant flavor and a very different texture. It has no sugar so it was not flexible or pliable as some of the fruit papers can be. It was incredibly delicate, almost vanishing into the mouth, leaving an unmistakable taste behind. I added a strand of saffron (which you can see in the photo); its taste was subtle and rounded out the olive well.

As far as what this can be used for... we tried it as a "skin" to wrap a dough to emulate an olive fougasse, but it didn't work so well, being hard to handle it was quite a task to even move it from the acetate. I could enjoy it on its own, or as a garnish to something very sweet, like a caramel or white chocolate.


  1. I love this idea but does it really taste like olives off the tree? Living in Tuscany I have plenty of opportunities to eat olives off the trees but I only did it once because of the rather off putting taste...

  2. I think so. Maybe a different variety? The paper was made from picholine olives.