Olive harvesting takes place in southern France at this time every year. Local villages hold olive festivals and tastings, and inventive olive dishes of all sorts are on offer.
Olives are often a favorite of French children, and my kids love them (especially my three year old, who can’t get enough of them). And I recently found out that they’re actually good for you: packed full of nutrients with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxident properties.
Not all North American children are used to the taste of olives. So how to introduce them? In our family, the popular French ‘savory muffins’ are a much-appreciated treat. Here’s an easy recipe that’s a fun twist on the usual North American sweet muffin.
3 cups flour (I do half each of whole wheat and white)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1 and 1/3 cups of whole milk or buttermilk (or 1 cup of milk, plus 1/3 cup of ricotta cheese, if you prefer a moister, denser muffin)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of pitted black olives, chopped
4 teaspoons of olive oil (or vegetable oil, or melted butter)
1/2 tablespoon of oregano (or Italian seasoning, if you prefer)
1/4 tablespoon of thyme (or Italian seasoning, if you prefer)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (sea salt, if you have it)
handful of sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
If adding the tomatoes, soak them in hot water for at least 10 minutes. After soaking, you’ll chop them into small pieces, and add them to the muffin mix.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, herbs, salt, and stir well.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, and then add olive oil, cheese, and milk. Stir well. (Note that French muffins tend to use more eggs than North American ones–which makes them less crumbly).
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Add the olives, and stir until just combined. Optional: add chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until the muffins are nicely browned. Serve warm.
Tip: You can add other veggies to these savory muffins, like finely diced bell pepper, or scallions, or even broccoli.