I am totally loving Dorie Greenspan’s book “Around my French Table”. Everything I try is just delicious. Last weekend I made a black olive tapenade. This weekend I used it to make these super easy Cornish hens. Here’s all you do. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Cover a broiler pan in foil or a shallow roasting pan. Cut the backbone out of the hens. Flatten them. Put a teaspoon of the olive tapenade under the skin. About a quarter of a teaspoon under the skin of each thigh and breast side. Slather with olive oil and a few squirts of lemon juice. Salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. That’s it! And it was delicious! I thought it seemed too easy. And I was right. It was incredibly easy. The flavor was far better than I imagined. Serve it with some lemon wedges at the table. The extra tang makes it even better. If you can’t cook, you can do this. And the hens are kind of fun to begin with and not very expensive. Hubbard ate almost of his. I could only eat half. So, I’d say it serves 2-4 people. She suggests cutting them in half when you serve them and adding a little drizzle of olive oil. Now, here’s the super simple tapenade recipe. The hardest part for me was finding olives cured in oil instead of brine. The do have them at Central Market, though. They’re kind of puckered looking and wrinkled instead of being all firm and smooth.
1/4 pound oil-cured black olives, chopped
1 anchovy, drained
grated zest and juice of 1/4 lemon
pinch of rosemary
pinch of thyme
pinch of piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Whirl it all up in a small food processor or blender. Scrape down the sides. Add more of anything that you like. You decide how chunky it should be. I like mine to be spreadable but not an actual puree.