Olive & "Ham" Loaf
Here's an elegant and simple recipe for a vegetarian Olive and "Ham" Loaf. Perfect picnic and weekend getaway fare, this rich bready loaf, studded with chopped olives and "ham", is made ahead of time and served cold with your favorite salad items.
The recipe comes from Paris Boulangerie Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries, this one created by Chef Claude Moreau of Stohrer. I substituted Yves Veggie Canadian Bacon for the diced ham in the original recipe and cut the 7/8 cup of olive oil to 1/2 cup. With the whopping 7/8 cup, I found this bread too oily, but, although much drier with just 1/2 cup, the bread remains moist and even suggests a topping. I also cut back on the quantity of "ham", cheese, and olives and was very happy with the tasty result.
This loaf, being filled with fatty goodies, is substantial enough to build a meal around. It has a nice fruity flavor from the wine and vermouth. I will definitely play with other fillings: my thoughts - Mexican version with jalapeno and cheddar and cilantro, asparagus and mushroom, perhaps. The Gruyere flavor was barely detectable - I can imagine feta and black olives being very good.
Olive & "Ham" Loaf (adapted from Paris Boulangerie Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries):
2 cups of flour, less 2 tbsp.
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup dry vermouth
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup olive oil (original recipe calls for 7/8 cup)
4 slices of Yves Canadian Bacon, diced (original recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups diced ham)
1 cup Gruyere, grated (original recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 cup green olives, chopped (original recipe calls for 1-1/4 cups)
Preheat your oven to 350. Blend the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add the wine, vermouth, and eggs to a well in the center and mix until incorporated. Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time, making sure the oil is blended in before each addition. The dough will be smooth and shiny. Add the grated cheese, "ham", and chopped olives and blend just until incorporated.
Grease an 8 x 4 loaf pan and pour in the batter, using a spatula to scrape all the batter into the pan. Bake for 50 minutes, until a tester comes clean in the center and the crust is pleasantly browned. After 5 minutes, use a sharp knife to cut around the edges of the loaf to loosen. Wait 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and allow to completely cool.