To Chaviari tou Ftochou

Poor Man’s Caviar

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    8 to 10

    servings (about 2½ cups )

Appears in

A KIND OF Greek tapenade, this spread of olives, garlic and capers from the island of Syros was traditionally made by patiently pounding the ingredients in a mortar with a pestle, and there are purists who insist that the flavor is inferior if you use a food processor. I think the difference, if any, is that you end up with a somewhat moister spread.


  • ½ pound juicy black olives, such as Pelion or Kalamata, pitted
  • ½ pound green olives, such as Nafplion, pitted
  • 1 cup capers, preferably salt-packed
  • 3–6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3–4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried savory or oregano, crumbled
  • ½–1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2–3 teaspoons dried whole wheat bread crumbs (optional)
  • Thin slices whole wheat bread, toasted


Rinse the olives and capers thoroughly under cold running water and drain well on paper towels.

In a food processor, combine the olives, capers, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and the garlic and process into a smooth paste. Add the parsley and process until incorporated. Add 3 tablespoons oil, savory or oregano and ½ teaspoon white pepper and process until blended. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more lemon juice and white pepper, if needed. If the mixture is too dry, add more oil. If the mixture is too moist, stir in the bread crumbs.

Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight. Serve small portions on the bread.