I have this little self-indulgent thing I do every time I go REAL grocery shopping. By real grocery shopping, I mean the kind where my husband stays home with the boys so that I don’t have to fend off requests for everything from Japanese rice crackers to day-glo cereals to a giant ham to adult diapers (because can you even imagine how hilarious it would be if we bought those to wear to youth group over our pants?)
My routine is this… I drive to the nearest biggish town and hit Aldi first where I probably look for all the world like a doomsday prepper with the amount of tuna and chili beans I’m buying (my kids snack on chili beans. I know. I KNOW. We’re weird.) I move onto The Wal-Marts where I again look like I’m stocking up for armageddon by virtue of the sheer volume of toilet tissue I’m purchasing. These exercises in embarrassment over, I move onto Wegman’s where I get beautiful produce, meats, jugs of olive oil and one little thing just for me. I always get myself a little roll from the bakery section and it’s almost always a crusty olive roll.
When I’ve crammed our little gas-efficient, tiny clown car with all the groceries I think we’ll need for three or four weeks (because I can take the bonnie wee thing instead of the massive purple van when I go solo), I sit in the car, listen to the classical music station and eat my crusty roll to reward myself for not filling my cart entirely with avocados and dark chocolate.
Now, I’ll tell ya, I like those crusty rolls perfectly well, but they’re so crusty, I can’t see making a sandwich on them unless I add some steel reinforcement to my teeth. I can eat a roll just fine, but if you add fillings you have to bite through, I think it might take more jaw work than I want to put into a meal because I like my sandwiches piled up-to-the-sky with innards.
I kept thinking about how much I’d love to have sandwich bread studded with those briny, fabulous olives, though, so the only recourse was to make it mahself. So I did.
The result was a seriously happy moment. Chewy outer crust, yielding and soft inner crumb and enough oil-cured olives to make my olive-loving heart sing.
The key to making these rolls is in the forming of them. Duh, right? No really, there is a technique that gives you that bakery-perfect round shape with the smooth top (with just a few olives lurking enticingly beneath the surface.) I had my eldest son shoot a quick video to show you how it’s done, it was a last minute idea and done with my iPhone, so please forgive any quality issues.
You’re really going to want to make these, both because there’s really not a happier vehicle for a sandwich and because you will most definitely want them on hand for a recipe I’m sharing in the next week or so. It involves feta, roasted garlic, and lots and lots of happy sighs.
In the meantime, I’d suggest you whip up a batch of these to make some very marvelous sandwiches. My sister thought they’d be great piled high with garden veggies… Clearly we’re dreaming of spring. I think they’d be fab for mopping up pasta sauce or stuffing with roasted turkey or chicken, cheese, and lots and lots of lettuce. How would you serve these?